US aid plane lands in Burma
BBC Online reports that the first US plane carrying emergency aid has landed in Burma – nine days after Cyclone Nargis!
The plane was carrying over 12,000 kgs of supplies, including mosquito nets, blankets and water. According to the BBC, "The US spent days negotiating with Burma's military government to gain permission for the aircraft to land."
This is a significant development in this emergency, as in the early days the Burmese had refused to allow US planes to land, and all commentators were saying that any aid worker with a US passport wouldn't be allowed into the country.
The BBC also reports that three Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) planes are due to be allowed into Burma soon.
The biggest worry is that although the military is showing signs that it is softening its hardline stance against foreign aid intervention and help in the disaster, the pace of their cooperation with international relief agencies, the UN and leading western aid donor countries is too slow and this natural disaster is going to turn into a humanitarian disaster
Over 1 million people are still very much at risk from the aftermath of this cyclone, and the reports indicate that there are still many, many dead bodies unretrieved from the disaster areas.
It is still important to exert pressure on the Burmese military junta to allow the smooth flow of the international relief effort into cyclone ravaged Burma – especially via putting pressure on the junta's international supporters: China mainly, but also their Asean supporters and neighbours including Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.