Five more U.S. military relief flights heading to Myanmar
Stars and Stripes May 14, 2008
PATTAYA, Thailand – Five more U.S. military flights will transport aid Wednesday to Myanmar, a U.S. military spokesman said.
Myanmar’s military government approved the aid after three U.S. flights landed in the country’s capital, Yangon, earlier in the week – one on Monday and two on Tuesday, according to Lt. Clint Gebke, a Marine Corps spokesman in Thailand.
The new flights will follow the same procedure as those preceding them, with Myanmar officials taking charge of distributing the supplies, said Joint Task Force Caring Response spokesman Lt. Col. Douglas Powell, also a Marine.
No other flights have been scheduled because the United States is hearing news "day to day," Powell said.
U.S. AID is delivering such supplies as high-energy biscuits, hygiene kits and clean water to Utapao Air Base near Pattaya where they are loaded aboard U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo planes and flown to Yangon.
Myanmar’s junta government confirmed that 28,000 people were killed and more than 40,000 are missing in the wake of Cyclone Nargis, which devastated the country’s Irrawaddy delta region nearly two weeks ago. United Nations officials and local aid organizations estimate the death toll is much higher and fear more deaths will follow due to hunger and disease, as aid is slow getting to those who need it.
Myanmar’s government has drawn international criticism for its slow response in the disaster’s wake and its reluctance to allow visas for specialized disaster teams.
Multinational military exercise Cobra Gold has placed 11,000 servicemembers in nearby Thailand who t can mobilize up to 200,000 pounds of aiddaily, said Pacific Command leader Adm. Timothy Keating on Monday, adding that they are only limited by the "permission of Burmese authorities."