Melbourne, May 19 : Burmese children affected by Cyclone Nargis face the risk of dying of starvation unless food is rushed to them, international aid agencies have warned.
According to a news.com.au report, pressure is being mounted on the Burmese military junta to speed up relief for the over two million people affected by the calamity. The tragedy has officially claimed the lives of nearly 134,000 people.
British aid group Save the Children said thousands of children could starve to death within weeks, and the latest UN internal report said it was still awaiting government approval to import rice, edible seeds and oil.
"We are extremely worried that many children in the affected areas are now suffering from severe acute malnourishment, the most serious level of hunger," said Jasmine Whitbread, who heads the agency's operation in Britain.
"When people reach this stage, they can die in a matter of days."
The World Food Program (WFP), which is leading the outside emergency food effort, said it had managed to get rice and beans to 212,000 of the 750,000 people it thinks are most in need, the Associated Press reported.
"It's not enough. There are a very large number of people who are yet to receive any kind of assistance and that's what's keeping out teams working round the clock," WFP spokesman Marcus Prior said in Bangkok.
UN's top disaster official John Holmes arrived in Myanmar yesterday on a three-day visit to convince the reluctant regime to open the doors to a massive relief effort after Cyclone Nargis. Holmes is reportedly carrying a letter from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the head of the junta, Than Shwe. The UN chief has made repeated calls to the military leader but failed to reach him since the tragedy.
The secretive military rulers have been letting more foreign experts into the country in recent days, but aid groups say it is not enough to ensure that victims get the food, water, shelter and medical care they need.