June 10, 2008 in Nation/World

Supplies reach new areas of Myanmar in need of aid

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

YANGON, Myanmar – U.N. helicopters loaded with relief supplies reached areas of Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta Monday that have been cut off from regular aid since a devastating cyclone five weeks ago, an official said.

Four of the five aircraft that arrived over the weekend got to work shuttling emergency supplies such as rice and water purification systems to villages around the hardest-hit towns of Bogale and Labutta, said Paul Risley, a U.N. World Food Program spokesman.

A total of four flights flew Monday to seven locations in the delta, and six more sites were expected to be reached today, he said.

U.N. officials and aid groups have criticized Myanmar’s military regime for restricting access to the delta, saying it has prevented enough food, water and shelter from reaching desperate survivors.

Foreign relief workers still face hindrances in reaching cyclone victims, especially outside Yangon, the country’s biggest city, aid groups say.

Until now, the U.N. had only one helicopter operating in Myanmar that flew a total of six trips last week, Risley said.

“Today was the first day where you really saw a multiplier effect,” Risley said. “These are areas that clearly have not received regular supplies of food or other relief assistance.”

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