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Cablegate: Burma: Cyclone Nargis Sitrep No. 3

VZCZCXRO7112
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHTRO
DE RUEHGO #0330/01 1280817
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 070817Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7504
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1132
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 4679
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8220
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5782
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3651
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1537
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 RANGOON 000330

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. 3

REF: RANGOON 319 AND PREVIOUS

SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) POST OPERATIONS: As of May 7, Embassy Rangoon
resumed operating on city power again. We continue to
receive two diesel shipments per day. The consular section
has suspended visa operations until May 21 to focus on
American Citizen Services. Post's Authorized Departure Task
Force met to collect numbers of family members planning to
depart. We will report these shortly.

2. (SBU) SITUATION ON THE GROUND: On May 6, state media
reported over 21,793 persons killed and 40,695 missing in
Irrawaddy Division and 671 killed and 359 missing in Rangoon
Division as a result of Nargis. However, NGO sources
reported over 100,000 were killed in Irrawaddy Division.
Food, water, and fuel continued to be in short supply
throughout Rangoon with sources reporting the situation in
Irrawaddy Division as critical. Electricity was restored to
a limited number of downtown Rangoon neighborhoods, but most
of the city was still without power. More gasoline and CNG
stations opened, and we saw more public transportation
operating today. Burmese Port Authority officials told us
they believe the Thilawa port, 25 kilometers southeast of
Rangoon will be fully operational in two weeks, but we are
seeking to independently confirm this estimate.

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

3. (SBU) STAFFING AND OPERATIONS: There was no change to
Embassy operating hours or liberal leave policy. We will
provide loans to FSNs today to meet immediate needs. The
consular section suspended visa operations until May 21 to
devote resources to American Citizen Services.

4. (SBU) AUTHORIZED DEPARTURE AND FLIGHTS: Post's Authorized
Departure Task Force met on May 7 and will meet daily as long
as necessary. We are collecting numbers on how many family
members wish to depart and will report them to the Department
this evening. Our travel section reported there are between
six and ten commercial airline seats to Bangkok each day, and
between five and nine seats to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are
available each day.

5. (SBU) FUEL AND POWER: As of May 7, the Embassy resumed
operating on city power. Management reported it received two
of the five truckloads of diesel fuel we ordered (3,840
gallons) on May 7 and expect one truckload of high octane
fuel tomorrow. As of May 7, the Embassy had 37,000 gallons
of diesel fuel on hand and 2,700 gallons of high octane. GSO
has a commitment from the vendor to continue to provide us
two truckloads of diesel per day, and is negotiating with to
secure more diesel and high octane shipments.

6. (SBU) WATER: The Embassy continues to have adequate water
supplies and purification capacity on hand.

7. (SBU) SECURITY: No criminal incidents involving American
staff reported. The breach in the Embassy's perimeter has
been temporarily repaired.

8. (SBU) OTHER: Post has established a local FSN relief
fund to assist FSN's with immediate needs, and has applied
for assistance from the Department's Global FSN Relief Fund.
Bangkok also has set up a fund for Embassy Rangoon FSNs.

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

9. (SBU) CASUALTIES AND DAMAGE: On the evening of May 6,
Burmese state media reported over 21,793 persons were killed
and 40,695 were missing in Irrawaddy Division and 671 were
killed and 359 missing in Rangoon Division. A local NGO with

RANGOON 00000330 002 OF 003


staff in Irrawaddy Division, reported government officials in
the city of Laputa told them 100,000 persons were killed and
all structures were destroyed in that city. NGO staff who
surveyed Pyinsalu Island reported that only 4,600 of the
island's 40,000 residents remain, and most are injured or
sick. Additionally, local sources reported the villages of
Thaungle, Ayardaw, Thapyaysate, and Thanggangyi in Irrawaddy
Division were completely submerged. Our contacts informed us
that eleven relief camps have been established by local
monasteries and churches in Myo Mya, but all lacked basic
equipment and facilities. Local sources estimate between
2,500 and 3,000 persons are in these camps. Initial reports
from the city of Pathein in Irrawaddy Division indicated the
city also sustained severe damage and was without power and
water. We have sent one officer to the delta area to report
on damage and another to Bago, north of Rangoon. A police
contact reported the GOB had dropped rice by helicopter to
flooded areas of the delta.

10. (SBU) RECOVERY: GSO's contacts at the Burmese Port
Authority told us they believe the Myanmar International
Terminals Thilawa port will be fully operational in two
weeks. This port is located 25 miles southeast of Rangoon
near the city of Thanlyin. A businessman who supplies
machinery to that port told us one of three cranes at Thilawa
collapsed into the water. He added that Asia World's port
was open and operational. We will gather more information on
damage to the port facilities and their normal capabilities
and capacity. Elements of the 77th, 66th, and 33rd Light
Infantry Divisions were seen in Rangoon clearing debris from
the road, with the 77th and 66th were taking the lead on
recovery efforts in downtown Rangoon.

11. (SBU) FOOD, WATER AND FUEL: Food, water, and fuel
continue to be continued to be in short supply throughout
Rangoon, with sources reporting the situation in Irrawaddy
Division as critical. Displaced persons fleeing Pathein told
emboffs that there had been no food or water available since
the afternoon of Friday, May 2 and official relief assistance
was non-existent. Seven CNG filling stations were open on
May 7 in Rangoon, five more than yesterday. Econ contacts
told us the CNG pipelines were operational and that there is
no shortage of CNG. However, the filling stations need power
to compress the natural gas and most still do not have city
power or sufficient fuel to power their generators. Most of
the city's busses and taxis use CNG.

12. (SBU) TRANSPORTATION: A few public busses were seen
running to and from Rangoon the morning of May 7, although
most remained out of service. A P/E FSN confirmed that one
main bus route was charging normal, pre-cylcone, fees.

13. (SBU) ELECTRICITY: Some city power was restored in
limited areas of downtown Rangoon and around the Embassy. As
of the morning of May 7, Traders Hotel, near Sule Pagoda, was
running on city power. A French diplomat reported that the
Summit Parkview Hotel, where he moved after his home was
destroyed, has city electricity. Econ contacts reported the
government had prioritized six downtown townships for the
restoration of electric power. However, the vast majority of
Rangoon remained without power.

14. (SBU) LAW AND ORDER: DEA contacts reported the Burmese
Director General of Police has been in Rangoon to personally
oversee the police which have been supplemented by soldiers.
There was a visible police and army presence downtown and in
some more affluent neighborhoods, but many of our contacts
reported little or no presence in other areas.

15. (SBU) VISAS: Save the Children's (STC) director in
Rangoon reported some of their staff have entered the country
but all on existing visas. He could not confirm whether any
new visas had been issued for STC staff. The Minister of
Social Welfare told STC they could bring in relief supplies
by air, but so far STC has not received official permission
to do so. We are meeting with UN and other donors now to

RANGOON 00000330 003 OF 003


find out if they have received any indications of movement on
visas.
VILLAROSA

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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