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Archive for Wednesday, May 7, 2008

International aid begins after cyclone

May 7, 2008

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— International aid began to trickle into Myanmar on Tuesday, but the stricken Irrawaddy delta, the nation's rice bowl where 22,000 people perished and twice as many are missing, remained cut off from the world.

In the former capital of Yangon, soldiers from the repressive military regime were out on the streets in large numbers for the first time since Cyclone Nargis hit over the weekend, helping to clear away rubble. Buddhist monks and Catholic nuns wielded axes and long knives to remove ancient, fallen trees that were once the city's pride.

However, coastal areas of the delta worst hit by the high winds and tidal surges were out of reach for aid workers, isolated by flooding and road damage.

Based on a satellite map made available by the United Nations, the storm's damage was concentrated over about a 11,600-square-mile area along the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Martaban coastlines - less than 5 percent of the country, but home to nearly a quarter of the country's population.

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