VARIOUS: US military carrier planes waiting in Thailand for Myanmar leaders to allow relief effort
- Title: VARIOUS: US military carrier planes waiting in Thailand for Myanmar leaders to allow relief effort
- Date: 9th May 2008
- Summary: (W4) NAKHON RATCHASRIMA PROVINCE, THAILAND (MAY 8, 2008) (REUTERS) OPENING CEREMONY OF JOINT THAI-US MILITARY EXERCISE COBRA GOLD '08 US AND THAI OFFICIALS ARRIVE AT CEREMONY IN AN AIRBASE EXTERIOR AIRBASE TERMINAL THAI AND US' SOLDIERS OPENING CEREMONY INSIDE TERMINAL SOUNDBITE (English) U.S. DEPUTY CHIEF OF COBRA GOLD EXERCISE MISSION, JAMES F. ENTWISTLE SAYING: "We hope that the Burmese government will agree to let us join the relief effort inside the country, perhaps using of the resources that we have brought into Thailand for the purposes of this exercise." US' MILITARY OFFICIALS LISTENING
- Reuters ID: LVA81QXZS17BXGVZUT3841ZUNTSC
- Duration: 00:00:39
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- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
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- Story Text: US military carrier planes waiting in Thailand for Myanmar leaders to allow relief effort.
At least four C-130s of US's Navy and Airforce seen by Reuters, on runway U Ta Pao Naval base in the eastern coastal of Thailand on Thursday, after Myanmar government taken back it's permission for the US's plane to airlift relief to it's cyclone victims.
United States and Thailand had thought the Myanmar generals had agree to let a U.S military cargo plane fly in supplies but it turned out to be premature on Thursday (May 08).
The U.S planes were initially in Thailand for purpose of annual joint military exercise called Cobra Gold 2008 but as the Cyclone Nagris hit Myanmar last saturday, U.S changed plan to move the supplies by planes to Myanmar instead, after United states and Thailand were thought to have the pass by Myanmar generals.
Cobra Gold 2008 kicks off in Thailand on Thursday (May 08) for its 27th annual joint exercise with many other countries this year.
If U.S is able to supply resources to Myanmar, the U.S will have a 6,075 soldiers ready to joint the humanitarian assistance in Myanmar, including its 96 aircraft that are currently at Thailand for Cobra Gold exercising.
"We hope that the Burmese government will agree to let us join the relief effort inside the country, perhaps using of the resources that we have brought into Thailand for the purposes of this exercise." James F.
Entwistle, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission addresses the opening ceremony of the exercise.
The Cobra Gold 2008 exercise this year is tend to be more preparedness of real-world priority of peace support, reconstruction and humanitarian assistance.
The United Nations estimates that at least 1.5 million people in Myanmar have been severely affected by the deadly cyclone Nargis, U.N.
humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes said on Thursday (May 8).
Holmes told reporters he was disappointed with the lack of progress being made in getting relief aid into Myanmar.
"We are simply trying to help the government of Myanmar to carry out their responsibility to aid these people in desperate need" Holmes told reporters.
Desperate survivors cried out for aid nearly a week after 100,000 people were feared killed by the cyclone, as pressure piled up on Myanmar to throw its doors open to an international relief operation.
The United States was awaiting approval from the ruling junta to start military aid flights, but the U.N. food agency and Red Cross/Red Crescent said they have finally started flying in emergency relief supplies after foot-dragging by the generals.
"I do appeal to very strongly indeed to the government of Myanmar, both to step up their own relief efforts to help people on the ground and to change their attitude completely to the efforts that we are making to get these relief supplies in".
In Washington, the State department echoed the United nations with calls for access to deliver aid to Myanmar. Ky Luu, Director of Foreign Disaster Assistance for USAID told reporters: "The problem that the entire international community is facing right now is access. What is available in terms of capacity in country is not adequate to be able to respond to a disaster of this magnitude, so again, we urge the government of the regime of Burma to open up access to all humanitarian actors."
Myanmar has long been suspicious of the outside world and is wrestling with a decision over whether to allow what would be the biggest international presence in the country in decades to help care for a sizeable portion of its population.
Some opponents accuse the junta of stalling because they don't want an influx of foreigners into the countryside during Saturday's referendum on an army-drafted constitution that looks set to cement the military's grip on power.
The German government's Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) was preparing to travel to Myanmar on Thursday (May 08) to help cleanup efforts with a water purification plant manned by twelve disaster relief workers.
Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who officially heads THW, asked a twelve-member team to be ready to travel to the country devastated by Cyclone Nargis as soon as visa formalities were sorted out.
In Ruesselsheim, outside Frankfurt, THW workers were packing up a water purification plant and other equipment needed to repair damaged infrastructure.
"Our job will be to purify drinking water which means turning contaminated water from contaminated wells into clean water for the people," Marco Schumacher said who runs THW's logistical operations at THW Ruesselsheim.
He was speaking "moments" after Schaeuble gave his order to be ready for the mission.
Asked what he expected to encounter once his team arrived in Myanmar, Schumacher said "I believe that the catastrophe this country suffered comes very close to the flood disaster following the tsunami some years ago -- maybe it's worse."
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