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Cyclone smashes into Burma

Logistics hamper effective aid delivery

Relief efforts in Burma following last weekend’s devastating cyclone will be severely hampered by extensive damage to the country’s infrastructure, charities claimed this week.

Half of Burma’s population lives in the areas affected by the storm, said a Care International spokesman. Roads and communications are all but non-existent in the worst affected areas.
Cyclone Nargis hit Burma last Saturday and was estimated to have killed 22,000 people with over 40,000 missing as NCE went to press.

It is estimated that at least 1M people are homeless and without clean water after winds reaching 190km/h devastated an area roughly the size of Wales.

Even access by boat in the hardest hit coastal areas is difficult. Reports from aid agency staff
already on the ground in Burma suggest that fuel shortages will also add to the problems.
Relief efforts were still largely at the information gathering stage as NCE went to press.

"We’re still very much at the need assessment phase of our operations," said a Geneva-based logistics expert for Care International. "The condition of Rangoon Airport is a major concern to aid agencies which will be looking to use it as a logistical hub of operations."

Electricity is unlikely to be restored for several days and water supplies are expected to be a major problem. Many roads remain impassable and the airport has been closed until further notice.

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