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Cablegate: Embassy Convenes Eac Meeting

VZCZCXRO5403
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHTRO
DE RUEHGO #0318/01 1261313
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 051313Z MAY 08 ZDS
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7482
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 1117
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI IMMEDIATE 4664
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL IMMEDIATE 8205
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 5767
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 1519
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 3635
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 000318

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (PARA NUMBERING)

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MLS; INR/EAP; S/ES-O/CMS; CA/OCS/ACS;
DS/IP/EAP; DS/ITA; DSCC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC CASC AMGT PREL AEMR BM
SUBJECT: EMBASSY CONVENES EAC MEETING

REF: A. RANGOON 310
B. 315

RANGOON 00000318 001.2 OF 002


SUMMARY
---------------

1. (SBU) Disregard Rangoon 317 sent in error.

2. (SBU) On May 5, Embassy Rangoon convened an EAC meeting
to discuss the situation following Cyclone Nargis which
struck Burma the evening of May 2 and morning of May 3. The
DCM chaired the meeting. The EAC reviewed the tripwires in
Post's Emergency Action Plan for a natural disaster and
agreed that the situation warranted a request for authorized
departure. Further to that determination, we have taken
several other actions to reduce our presence. Post requests
the Department establish a Task Force to assist Embassy
Rangoon, see Action Request in para 4.

EAC ASSESSMENT
-------------------------

3. (SBU) After reviewing the tripwires in Post's Emergency
Action Plan (EAP), all members of the EAC agreed that
conditions in Rangoon warranted a request that the Department
approve authorized departure. Specifically, the EAC agreed
that the Government of Burma (GOB) was unable to provide
basic services at this time in Rangoon, that major damage to
infrastructure made movement difficult within the
hurricane-affected parts of the country, and that basic
services to the public in these areas such as water,
electricity, and fuel, were limited or non-existent.
Additionally, Management reported Post had not yet received
all of the fuel shipments it had ordered and was at risk of
running low of diesel and high octane fuel for Embassy
operations, generators and vehicles. RSO and others
expressed concern about the ability of government authorities
to maintain law and order if shortages and outages become
prolonged. DAO stated the military lacked the training or
resources to respond effectively to the crisis, and reported
seeing isolated incidences of looting in Rangoon. All
members of the EAC reported that government-provided
electricity and water were non-existent throughout most of
the city, and several Embassy homes lacked sufficient power
or water. The RSO suggested that several tripwires for an
ordered departure also exist. The EAC concurred that some of
these conditions were present, but based on the overall
situation, determined a request for ordered departure was not
warranted at this time. The EAC agreed it would continue to
review the situation on the ground.

POST ACTIONS
--------------------

4. (SBU) Based on our assessment of the conditions and
Post's EAP, we have taken the following actions:

-- We have proposed a travel alert to CA recommending Amcits
defer all non-essential travel to Burma and urge those
already in Burma depart at the earliest opportunity;
-- We will hold a town hall meeting for all AMCITS (official
and non-official) the morning of May 6;
-- Post will close Service CAC in order to conserve fuel and
manpower per RSO request;
-- We will close the American Center temporarily until
manpower and fuel gaps are addressed;
-- Post will continue to operate daily from 0800 through 1630
under a liberal leave policy;
-- All Embassy sections will reduce classified holdings to
one hour destruction time;
-- RSO and Management will request the GOB provide security
and logistical support, including the resumption of police
presence outside Embassy facilities and a commitment to
provide the fuel we have ordered;

5. (SBU) Action Request: That Department establish a Task

RANGOON 00000318 002.2 OF 002


Force to assist Embassy Rangoon. The most important hours
for us are during our daytime (Washington night - ten and a
half hours behind Rangoon).
VILLAROSA

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