- Title: VARIOUS: Aid is sent to cyclone-hit Myanmar as residents pick up their lives
- Date: 7th May 2008
- Summary: (W2) YANGON, MYANMAR (MAY 7, 2008) (REUTERS) CARS WAITING TO GET PETROL CARS IN QUEUE MAN SITTING IN CAR LONG QUEUE OF CARS OUTSIDE PETROL STATION QUEUES OF VEHICLES STRETCHING DOWN STREET
- Embargoed: 22nd May 2008 13:00
- Topics: International Relations,Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Reuters ID: LVAEDS2XXABEJ6HLA2PIJI4D9K0B
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Cyclone-struck Myanmar faced long queues for petrol and soaring food prices on Wednesday (May 7) as the country tried to recover from a calamity that has killed more than 22,00 people.
Dozens of cars lined up at petrol stations, each vehicle only allowed two gallons of petrol a day.
Myanmar's military government has lifted a ban on private companies importing fuel to ease a chronic energy shortage in the wake of Cyclone Nargis, a Yangon-based diplomat said. Normally, only the government is able to import fuel.
Prices of food rose sharply, with vegetables now sold at three times last week's prices.
In response to the devastation caused by Nargis, which hit the country last Saturday (May 3), many Asian countries rushed in with aid and emergency relief.
Neighbouring Singapore sent $200,000 U.S. dollars worth of humanitarian aid. Boxes filled with medical supplies, drinking water, emergency food and tents were sent via a commercial flight to Yangon.
The U.S. Ambassador for ASEAN Affairs Scott Marciel said at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, the U.S. would like to help with the relief effort, but that the decision to allow this rested with the Burmese authorities, "We would hope that they will accept assistance from United States. It's meant sincerely from the American people and if not, we would want to work with the United Nations and other organisation who are able to get inside the country," he said.
The United Nations said on Wednesday it had obtained permission to fly emergency supplies to Myanmar but aid workers were still waiting for visas to enter the isolated country.
The U.N. estimates upwards of one million people in Myanmar are currently in need of shelter and life-saving assistance.
"There are large swathes of the lower Irrawaddy delta completely under water at this point," Richard Horsey told Reuters after a meeting of aid experts at the United Nations Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Bangkok.
Reflecting the scale of the crisis, the junta said it would postpone by two weeks a constitutional referendum in the worst-hit areas.
However, the referendum, part of the army's much-criticised "roadmap to democracy", would proceed as planned elsewhere on Saturday (May 10).
In the Philippines, two dozen activists demonstrated in front of the Myanmar embassy in Manila, calling for the full postponement in the state's referendum process.
Pope Benedict urged the international community to provide generous and effective aid to help Myanmar deal with the death and disaster caused by Nargis.
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