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Cablegate: Burma: Cyclone Nargis Sitrep No. 2

VZCZCXRO6163
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHTRO
DE RUEHGO #0320/01 1270920
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 060920Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7486
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1121
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 4668
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8209
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5771
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3639
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1523
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 RANGOON 000320

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR USAID/OFDA, EAP/MLS, S/ES-O-CMS, DS/CC AND
DS/IP/EAP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID BM
SUBJECT: BURMA: CYCLONE NARGIS SITREP NO. 2

REF: RANGOON 319 AND PREVIOUS

SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) The GOB reported Cyclone Nargis killed over 15,000
persons, most in the Irrawaddy delta region. Food, water,
and fuel shortages continued throughout Rangoon. While some
neighborhoods had limited water service restored,
government-provided electricity was still out. There were
reports of isolated incidents of looting and disturbances in
the city but security forces moved in to restore order in
most cases. Rangoon's main port was completely destroyed and
authorities said they currently have no plans to rebuild, and
no equipment to properly dredge it. Embassy Rangoon received
half of its requested fuel shipments on May 6 and has
approximately 12 days of diesel fuel on hand. We have
received from Amcit family members in the US a number of
welfare and whereabouts request, many of whom have been
located today and confirmed all right. There have been no
reports of injuries or deaths among the Amcit community, and
no requests for any emergency services. Embassy Rangoon's
town hall meeting for the off
icial and non-official Amcit community was well attended.
The Charge urged Amcits to consider departing the country and
Consular encouraged all to read the Travel Warning, to use
newly-installed embassy computer stations for emailing home,
and to register with the consular section if they have not
already.

EMBASSY OPERATIONS
------------------

2. (SBU) STAFFING AND OPERATIONS: The Embassy operates from
0800 until 1630 on a liberal leave policy. The American
Center will stop its generators on May 7 and will remain
closed to the public until fuel and manpower resources allow
it reopen.

3. (SBU) FUEL: Management reported receiving two of the
five truckloads of diesel fuel it ordered, each containing
1,920 gallons. As of May 6, the Embassy has 31,000 gallons
of diesel fuel in its storage tanks. We will shut down the
American Center and former chancery's generators the morning
of May 7. This will save 500 gallons per day. Once this is
done, the Mission will consume 2,700 gallons of diesel fuel
per day (1,100 at the Embassy compound and the remainder in
vehicles and at staff residences). At this rate of
consumption, each truckload of diesel fuel represents
approximately three quarters of a day's worth of fuel, so our
current supplies represent approximately 12 days worth of
consumption (28 days if all fuel is used to run the Embassy
compound only). We have ordered five more truckloads of
diesel for delivery May 7 and have received a commitment for
two trucks. All private Embassy homes have full fuel tanks
which will last an average of three or four days without
replenishment. The CMR
and DCMR have approximately 10 days of fuel. All three of
the serviced apartments that house some Embassy staff
reported fuel shortages and have instituted electricity
rationing and price increases. One building announced it
would increase electricity charges from 8 cents per minute to
80 cents per minute. Another announced it had 12 days of
fuel remaining.

4. (SBU) WATER: Management reported the Embassy has adequate
water supplies in its wells and can treat and ship potable
water to all Embassy residences. All but one Embassy
residence has a well.

5. (SBU) SECURITY: RSO reported no American staff were the
victims of crime since the cyclone struck. 95 percent of the
local guard force reported for work today. We have a full
MSG contingent. The closure of the American Center to the
public has allowed RSO to divert three of the five American
Center guards to other duties. RSO has posted guards at the

RANGOON 00000320 002 OF 003


gas station and to cover a breach in the Embassy compound
perimeter. Five Embassy residences have breaches in their
perimeter walls. We are operating two mobile patrols per day
to cover all Embassy residences. The police have responded
to our request and sent two officers to guard the front gate
of the Embassy compound.

6. (SBU) SCHOOLS: The principal of the International School
Yangon (ISY) has suspended classes and will close for the
school year on Tuesday, May 13. The other two schools,
Yangon International School and Yangon International
Education Center also sustained damage and will likely close.

7. (SBU) FLIGHTS: Thai Airways operated two flights into
and out of Rangoon today. So far it has not created a third
daily flight. Flights are booked until May 16th. Silk Air
operated a flight to Singapore on May 5 and has not announced
plans to suspend its three-times-a-week service.

8. (SBU) OTHER: The Embassy's main shipper, Crown
Shipping's, warehouse was destroyed. GSO is trying to obtain
packing materials from Singapore in anticipation of the
summer transfer season. We received one chainsaw from
Bangkok today, and will receive 4 more chainsaws within one
or two days. Post has requested 2,000 MREs, and Embassy
Bangkok will send us batteries.

9. (SBU) VISAS: Contrary to U.S. officials' comments to the
press, the GOB has not refused the visas for our DART team.
Officials told Charge yesterday that they must seek approval
from Nay Pyi Taw and could not say whether the visas would be
granted.

SITUATION ON THE GROUND
-----------------------

10. (SBU) CASUALTIES: The GOB reported Cyclone Nargis killed
over 15,000 persons. The worst of the casualties were in the
Irrawaddy delta region where a 12 foot storm surge hit in the
middle of the night. Officials also reported that over 95
percent of the structures were destroyed in the delta.

11. (SBU) PORT: Econ contacts reported that the Rangoon port
was completely destroyed. Numerous structures were destroyed
and a significant number of ships sunk. As of May 7, there
were no shipments of any kind, including food and fuel, into
or out of the port. Port Authority officials told our
contacts they do not have the equipment to repair the port.

12. (SBU) FOOD, WATER AND FUEL: Food, water, and fuel
shortages continued throughout Rangoon. While some
neighborhoods had limited water service restored,
government-provided electricity was still out. While our
contacts reported some markets were stocked, food prices
remained high and many markets closed out of a fear of
looting. The price of eggs had increased 400 percent since
the storm. The price of a bottle of water increased from 350
kyat to 1,000 per 20 liter bottle. DAO reported there are
only two CNG stations operating in the city and long lines at
the gas stations that were open. Most public transportation
runs on CNG.

13. (SBU) LAW AND ORDER: There were reports of isolated
incidents of looting and disturbances in the city but
security forces moved in to restore order in most cases.
RSO staff reported security forces moved in to stop physical
altercations that broke out in some local markets. A P/E FSN
reported between 200 and 300 people confronted authorities
who tried to prevent them from taking water out of a Rangoon
lake, although they eventually departed without the water.

TOWN HALL AND CONSULAR
----------------------

14. (SBU) Embassy Rangoon held a Town Hall meeting for
American Citizens on May 6, over 150 attended. Charge

RANGOON 00000320 003 OF 003


explained that the fuel, water, food and communication
situation in Rangoon was serious and could get significantly
worse in the coming weeks as supplies dwindle. She strongly
urged all Amcits to seriously consider leaving the country
until the situation improved, stressing that leaving now in a
calm manner would be easier than waiting until violence broke
out. Consular encouraged all to read the Travel Warning, to
use newly-installed embassy computer stations for emailing
home, and to register with the consular section if they have
not already. Representatives from three of the international
schools in Rangoon attended the meeting. They said that they
have meetings scheduled today or tomorrow to make definite
plans for the remainder of the school year, which ends in
three weeks, but indicated that they would probably close
schools by the middle of next week. Many people were
concerned about conta
cting their families now that most communication had been
severed. The Embassy set up two workstations for limited
email for Amcit use during normal business hours.

15. (SBU) We have received from Amcit family members in the
US a number of welfare and whereabouts request, many of whom
have been located today and confirmed all right. There has
been no reports of injuries or deaths among the Amcit
community, and no requests for any emergency services.
VILLAROSA

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