9 May 2008

Burma rejects need for foreign aid workers, UN blasts regime

Burma has rejected the need for foreign aid workers to help with the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis and has turned back a rescue team today, prompting a furious response from the UN and the international community.

Despite the increasing momentum of the disaster, the junta said today that the best way the world could help its nation was to just send in material rather than personnel.

The regime then urged its citizens to vote for an army-drafted constitution in Saturday's referendum that made no mention of the estimated 1.5 million people clinging to survival a week after the cyclone.

“Myanmar is not in a position to receive rescue and information teams from foreign countries at the moment,” a government-run newspaper said.

It added: “But at present Myanmar is giving priority to receiving relief aid and distributing them to the storm-hit regions with its own resources.”

The UN said that the junta’s response was “unprecedented in the history of humanitarian work”, while survivors of a devastating cyclone waited for food, shelter and medicine.

Times Online