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Aid Agencies Test Burma's Pledge to Allow Access to Cyclone Areas

  • VOA News

Aid agencies say they are sending relief teams into cyclone-hit areas of Burma Monday to test the military government's pledge to allow unrestricted access to their workers.

More than three weeks after Cyclone Nargis hit Burma's Irrawaddy Delta, the United Nations says three out of four victims have yet to receive any form of relief assistance.

Nargis left at least 134-thousand people dead or missing. More than two million are suffering from a lack of clean water, shelter or medical care.

The UN says it believes Burma's military government will stand by its commitment to give foreign aid workers unhindered access to the country.

Meanwhile, the UN's agency for children (UNICEF) says it is trying to convince military-ruled Burma not to place two-thousand orphans into state-run homes.

On Sunday, the Association for South East Asian Nations and the United Nations held an international donors conference in Rangoon to raise funds for victims of the storm.

Delegates have pledged more than 100 million dollars in emergency relief. The total appears to be far short of the United Nations' appeal for 201 million dollars.

Burma's Prime Minister General Thein Sein told delegates the foreign aid is welcome as long as it is offered without conditions.

Several countries, including the United States, said they would provide more cyclone aid only if the military government allows international experts to have access to areas getting the relief.

Burma has allowed few foreign relief workers to enter the country, and has refused to allow US and French navy ships carrying relief supplies to deliver aid.

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