Search

 

Cablegate: Burma: Cyclone Nargis Sitrep No. 5

VZCZCXRO9286
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHTRO
DE RUEHGO #0345/01 1300727
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 090727Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7533
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1158
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 4702
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8246
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5808
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3674
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1564
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 RANGOON 000345

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR USAID/OFDA, EAP/MLS, S/ES-O-CMS, DS/CC AND
DS/IP/EAP; PACOM FOR LTC JAMIE MCADEN; BANGKOK FOR RSO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID BM
SUBJECT: BURMA: CYCLONE NARGIS SITREP NO. 5

REF: A. RANGOON 342
B. RANGOON 335 AND PREVIOUS

SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) EMBASSY OPERATIONS: Four eligible family members
are scheduled to depart for Bangkok on May 9. The remaining
eight EFMs who want to depart are scheduled to leave on May
13. The Embassy continued to operate on city power, and we
continued to receive diesel shipments. New welfare and
whereabouts inquiries for Amcits have decreased
significantly, and the vast majority of inquiries concerning
registered residents with known addresses have been accounted
for. No criminal incidents involving American staff were
reported.

2. (SBU) FLIGHT REQUESTS: Embassy submitted a flight
clearance request for a C-12 flight. While we have not yet
received approval, DAO expects that it will. The flight will
carry items for the Embassy as well as some humanitarian
supplies we can deliver to NGOs here. DAO will also submit a
clearance request for a C-130 flight on Monday carrying
humanitarian assistance.

3. (SBU) SITUATION ON THE GROUND: In preparation for a
possible C-130 relief flight, we are working to assess the
chain of custody for relief supplies arriving in Burma and to
determine how supplies are being distributed in the delta.
Singapore and Japan have decided to fly in relief supplies on
commercial aircraft. We received written notification from
the MFA that our DART team's visas have been denied. More
fuel stations reopened in Rangoon, which resulted in prices
and lines decreasing across the city. Food prices in Rangoon
remained high due to short supplies and high demand,
particularly for rice, meat, and fish. Embassy contacts
estimated Cyclone Nargis damaged approximately 80 percent of
Rangoon's electricity facilities, but said the government
continued to slowly resume electricity supply throughout the
city. There were no reports of widespread looting or public
disturbances in or around Rangoon.

4. (SBU) UPDATES: Embassy Rangoon will close for the
weekend. We will send in updates of significant
developments, including flight clearances, to the Operations
Center via unclass e-mail.

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

5. (SBU) STAFFING AND OPERATIONS: As planned, we dismissed
all but essential FSN staff at 1200 to repair their homes.

6. (SBU) CONSULAR: New welfare and whereabouts inquiries
have decreased significantly, and the vast majority of
inquiries concerning registered residents with known
addresses have been accounted for. Consular continues to
remain in contact with Burma Immigration authorities to
confirm which unaccounted Amcits may have departed or did not
enter the country through Rangoon airport. We have also
given unregistered names of U.S. tourists to Ministry of
Hotel and Tourism officials in the event they could confirm
their whereabouts through their own monitoring system of
foreigners. Consular staff continues to make rounds in the
city by car to hotels and guest houses.

7. (SBU) AUTHORIZED DEPARTURE AND FLIGHTS: Post's Authorized
Departure Task Force met again on May 9. On May 9, four
eligible family members (EFMs) from one family will depart
Rangoon for Bangkok at 1945 hrs on Thai Air flight 306. On
May 13, eight more EFMs from four families will depart post
for Bangkok at 1945 hrs on Thai Air flight 306. 25 EFMs have
chosen to remain at post for now, including ten EFMs who had
initially expressed interest in departing. One family of
four has elected to PCS later this month rather than leave
now on authorized departure. Four EFMs are out of the

RANGOON 00000345 002 OF 003


country. As of May 9, there were 45 EFMs registered at Post.


8. (SBU) FUEL AND POWER: The Embassy continued to operate
on city power. We received two more truckloads of diesel
fuel on May 8. With that delivery, our diesel storage tanks
are at 90 percent, and high octane tanks are at 61 percent.
All Embassy-owned vehicles have full gas tanks.

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

10. (SBU) SECURITY: No criminal incidents involving
American staff were reported. RSO continued to liaise with
their police contacts regarding any potential threats and the
security situation in Rangoon.

11. (SBU) HEALTHCARE: Post's medical unit has begun
reviewing the immunization records of officers and their
families in order to update immunizations as needed. Med
reported that Rangoon General Hospital had adequate
electricity and water and was fully staffed. However,
hospital staff reported they were running low on antibiotics.
Shwegondaing Specialist Clinic (SSC), near the Embassy, had
adequate water, but was running on generator and was also
running low on antibiotics. SSC was fully staffed and could
conduct emergency surgery, but had postponed all elective
procedures.

12. (SBU) OTHER: Post continued to assess the emergency
needs of our FSNs and will provide that information to the
Department in order to coordinate with the ongoing efforts of
the FSN Relief Fund.

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

13. (SBU) CASUALTIES AND DAMAGE: UN assessment teams
estimated the number of dead and missing at between 63,290
and 101,682. They estimated the total affected population at
between 1.2 and 1.9 million (close hold). The online exile
newspaper Irrawaddy reported unnamed GOB sources told them as
many as 600 villages were submerged in the delta region.
Medical workers in the delta region have reported cases of
cholera and fear an outbreak as survivors drink from
contaminated creeks and rivers. The NLD confirmed that Aung
San Suu Kyi was at home and unhurt. Her home did not suffer
major damage.

14. (SBU) RECOVERY AND RELIEF: In preparation for the
possible delivery of USG relief supplies, we are working to
assess the chain of custody for relief goods arriving in
Burma and to determine how they are being distributed in the
delta. Singapore and Japan have flown in relief supplies on
commercial aircraft. The Singaporean Embassy told us they
have brought supplies in using purchased cargo space on
regularly-scheduled Silk Air flights. The Japanese informed
us they had already sent one shipment on a regularly
scheduled Thai Air flight on May 7, but were also working
with the Ministry of Social Welfare to obtain commercial
flight clearances for chartered aircraft. Embassy Rangoon
has begun collecting offers of aid and requests for
assistance and will forward them to OFDA in Bangkok.

15. (SBU) FUEL: According to an official at the Ministry of
Gas and Electric, nine out of Rangoon's twenty five CNG
filling stations were operating on May 9. Fuel prices remain
stable and lines continued to decrease across the city

16. (SBU) FOOD AND WATER: Food prices in Rangoon remained
high due to short supply and high demand. Rice stocks
throughout the city were almost depleted, and prices were
approximately 67 percent higher than before the cyclone.
Prices of other commodities, such as cooking oil, meat,
chicken, and fish, continued to increase dramatically due to
short supply and high demand. However, fruits and vegetables

RANGOON 00000345 003.2 OF 003


from Northern Burma have entered the Rangoon market via the
recently-reopened railroads, alleviating some pressure on
food supplies and prices (Reftel A).

17. (SBU) TRANSPORTATION: At least three more main bus
lines began running on May 8, although approximately 50
percent fewer busses were operating on the routes. Fares
were still slightly higher than before the cyclone but
continued to drop.

18. (SBU) ELECTRICITY: Embassy contacts estimated Cyclone
Nargis damaged approximately 80 percent of Rangoon's
electricity facilities, including overhead cables and power
substations. The Government continued to work to resume
electricity supply throughout the city, and had restored
power to six townships in downtown Rangoon and to parts of
approximately 12 townships around the city. Many buildings,
offices, homes, fuel stations, and hospitals that receive
power from underground power cables reported that they have
received city power, although supply was not constant.
Myanmar Electrical Power Enterprise (MEPE) and Yangoon City
Electric Power Supply Board (YESB) staff was working to
repair overhead cables, removing trees and replacing lost or
damaged power lines. GOB officials would not say how long it
will take to restore electricity to all of Rangoon's 33
townships, but Embassy contacts predicted it would take
several months (see Septel).

19. (SBU) LAW AND ORDER: There were no reports of
widespread looting or public disturbance in or around
Rangoon.

20. (SBU) VISAS: We received written notification from the
MFA that our DART team's visas have been denied "due to the
difficulties for providing logistic support and preoccupation
with heavy load of emergency relief works in the affected
areas." Today's Burmese version of the regime-mouthpiece New
Light of Myanmar newspaper reported that a chartered relief
plane from Quatar was turned back because it contained a
search and rescue and media team. The article contained a
statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that said
Burma is not ready to accept foreign relief teams yet.
VILLAROSA

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC