Indian ships arrive in Nargis-hit Myanmar with relief

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New Delhi, May 8 (UNI) Two Indian naval ships have arrived in Yangon with relief supplies for survivors of cyclone Nargis in Myanmar that killed nearly 22,500 people and left 41,000 missing.

On May 2-3, cyclone Nargis ripped through Myanmar's Irrawaddy delta, where entire villages have been washed away and one million people left homeless.

Nargis is Asia's most devastating cyclone since 1991 when a storm killed 143,000 in neighbouring Bangladesh.

The two Indian naval ships - INS Rana and INS Kirpan -- berthed alongside at Yangon naval jetty at about 1600 hrs local time yesterday. The ships were received by Myanmar Minister for Social Welfare Relief and Resettlement Major General Maung Maung Swe.

Commanding Officers of INS Rana and INS Kirpan Captain Deepak Bali and Captain Ajay Kochar respectively handed over the essential relief material consisting of clothing, blanket, medicine, food material and other essentials.

Deputy Minister Brig General Kyaw Myint and Commander of Ayawady Naval Regional Command Headquarters, Commodore Win Sheim, Indian Embassy Charge-de-Affairs Manoj K Bharti were present on the occasion.

The ships braved very high velocity winds from 50-60 knots, shifting sands and other hazards while navigating through the channel. Such a fast response from India in the recent times had been possible due to the ships being on regular deployment in the Indian Ocean Region.

A first hand report from Myanmar said that massive devastation reminiscent of December 2004 Tsunami had taken place in the country due to the cyclone.

UNI AG LS KP1310

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