Yangon, May 12: After long negotiations with Myanmar's military rulers, the U.S. launched its first aid-flight to Myanmar today and will send two more air shipments on Tuesday.
As the US aircraft was loaded at Utapao airbase in Thailand, a spokesman for the operation said that America was ready to provide more help. Nine days after Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar's low-lying Irrawaddy Delta region, survivors are beginning to gather in makeshift camps around the edges of the disaster zone and experts warn that aid, which is entering Myanmar, is insufficient.
The death toll had risen to 28,458, while 33,416 were still missing after the cyclone, according to the statistics taken on Sunday. Aid agencies, however, estimate that 100,000 have died and warn that this figure could rise to 1.5 million without provision of clean water and sanitation. Many foreign experts are still waiting for visas to enter the country and on Sunday, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) said that the amount of aid getting to victims was "nowhere near the scale required".
The European Union is planning to hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss aid to Myanmar.
"Officials would try to identify and co-ordinate the best means of facilitating the mobilisation and delivery of international humanitarian assistance," said Louis Michel, EU commissioner for humanitarian aid.