Aiding Cyclone Victims

The first U.N. aid flights carrying food and medicine for desperate survivors of Cyclone Nargis landed in Rangoon on Thursday. U.N. officials said trucks carrying high energy buscuits were on their way to the Irrawaddy Delta area, where hundreds of thousands were left without shelter, food or drinking water. Several U.S. planes loaded with supplies were waiting for permission to fly to Rangoon.


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Cyclone's Path of Damage


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Relief efforts: The first two U.N. flights with supplies for survivors landed in Rangoon. Some of the supplies were being trucked to the most devastated areas in the southwest. More aid flights were waiting in Thailand for permission from the reclusive Burma military junta to land in Rangoon.

Population: Residents of Burma’s largest city (population 740,000) are without electricity, drinking water is getting scarce and food and fuel prices are skyrocketing. It may be many weeks before services are restored. About 570,000 people live in flooded areas in the Rangoon area.

Irrawaddy Delta

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Relief efforts: With roads washed out or under water, large areas remain accessible only by air. The U.S. government has proposed airdrops from helicopters, but would need permission from the militlary junta in Rangoon.

Population: An estimated 1 million people were left homeless in this delta area, which is Burma’s principal rice producing region. Burma may not be able to fulfill its 2008 export commitment for 600,000 tons. The next season may not be normal either because rice paddies are flooded with ocean water, rendering them unfit for planting.


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Population:This rice trading town is among the hardest-hit townships. More than 200,000 people lived in the area before the storm


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Relief efforts: Winds of 120 m.p.h and five- to six-foot-high surge waters battered this township last Friday night. Desperate survivors were waiting for aid, but an eyewitness spotted only one helicopter flying in supplies.

Population: A township, with a pre-storm population of 180,000. Burmese government sources said up to 10,000 people may have died.


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Relief efforts: About 600 survivors, dispossessed by the storm, have sought shelter in a temple in this devastated township, an eyewitness reported. There was no food, so people scavanged for fish in the fouled waters of canals.

Population: The township lies in the direct path of the cyclone. About 130,000 people live in flooded areas. Thousands of people drowned in the floodwaters.


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Population: About 130,000 people live in flooded areas.


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Relief efforts:The U.S. military was sending more humanitarian supplies to Thailand to await permission to proceed to Rangoon. Six C-130 transport planes were available to deliver aid, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates said. Several U.S. ships were moving toward Burma to assist, he added.

Source: United Nations, staff reports, Associated Press.

Map by Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso and Dita Smith, The Washington Post - May 9, 2008

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