U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon toured Burma's cyclone-ravaged Irrawaddy Delta on Thursday as he pressed the country's leaders to accept more international aid for two-and-a-half-million survivors.
Mr. Ban's helicopter tour flew over some of the worst-hit areas and stopped at relief camps. The U.N. chief urged one woman not to lose hope and said, "the United Nations is here to help you."
Before his three-hour inspection tour, Mr. Ban met with the Burmese Prime Minister, General Thein Sein, in the main city of Rangoon. Mr. Ban said the gravity of the disaster is beyond Burma's capability and that the country requires international assistance. General Thein Sein said the relief phase was over and that it is now time to begin reconstruction.
The secretary-general of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Surin Pitsuwan, criticized the general's remark, saying the full extent of the disaster has yet to be verified.