Yangon, May 9: Myanmar military government still maintained tight limits on foreign assistance six days after Nargis Cyclone struck the place and claimed over 100,000 lives. Despite warnings that specialists were needed to deliver food and water into disaster zones, it was unclear if the regime had yet given visas to foreign aid staff.
The White House urged Myanmar to allow US disaster relief into the country while a State Department official said the US was planning to drop food aid without the junta's approval. The United Nations Security Council was divided on how to respond to the emergency. Western members are putting strong pressure on Myanmar to allow foreign relief aid to over one million homeless who are grappling with diseases and hunger. Earlier, UN humanitarian chief John Holmes said he was "disappointed" with Myanmar over its failure to facilitate entry to more foreign relief workers and supplies to cope with the disaster. Aid groups said help was slowly arriving for most of those in the stricken southwest Irrawaddy delta who saw their villages ripped apart or washed away.
The UN said four disaster experts received permission to travel to Myanmar, but there was no immediate word for others awaiting a green light from the military.
"Around 5,000 square kilometres (1,930 square miles) remain underwater, and more than a million homeless need emergency relief, a UN spokesman said.
Food prices in Myanmar, already one of the world's most impoverished nations, have soared. A bag of rice now costs 40,000 kyats (35 dollars) in the commercial hub Yangon, up from 25,000 last week.