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Cablegate: Burma: Cyclone Nargis Sitrep No. 7

VZCZCXRO2675
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHTRO
DE RUEHGO #0358/01 1340720
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 130720Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7565
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1177
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 4721
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8265
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5827
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3699
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1594
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 000358

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. 7

REF: RANGOON 352 AND PREVIOUS

SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) EMBASSY OPERATIONS: Embassy Rangoon continued to
operate on city power and had full diesel fuel tanks. On May
13, the remaining six EFMs who had requested to depart will
leave post for Bangkok. No criminal incidents involving
American staff or families were reported

2. (SBU) C-130 FLIGHTS: The first of two scheduled C-130
relief flights for May 13 arrived at 1045 and departed at
1158. The second flight is scheduled to arrive at 1400.

3. (SBU) SITUATION ON THE GROUND: GOB officials told the UN
that assistance is urgently needed to help farmers in the
delta plant their next rice crop in order to avoid a food
shortage (Septel). NGOs with a presence in the delta told us
Pathein and Myaungmya were not badly damaged but continued to
receive large numbers of internally displaced persons from
the worst hit areas. The UN and several well-established
NGOs told us that authorities have not hampered their relief
activities in areas of the delta in which they already had a
presence or an existing Memorandum of Understanding. We
received no reports of widespread looting or public
disturbances in or around Rangoon, although RSO noted a
continued lack of nighttime police presence at several police
substations in central Rangoon.

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

4. (SBU) STAFFING AND OPERATIONS: Embassy Rangoon operated
on its normal 0800-1630 schedule subject to a liberal leave
policy.

5. (SBU) CONSULAR: Post distributed one OCS Trust account on
May 12. We continued to work on pending welfare and
whereabouts cases.

6. (SBU) AUTHORIZED DEPARTURE AND FLIGHTS: Six EFMs from
three families will depart today, May 13 at 1945 hrs on Thai
Air flight 306. There are no more EFMs who have requested to
depart. Post will review the authorized departure on May 15
and inform the Department of its recommendations.

7. (SBU) FUEL AND POWER: The Embassy operated on city power
and had full diesel storage tanks. We will request
permission from the GOB to order more fuel. Facilities is
conducting inspections and maintenance on residential
generators to ensure they continue to operate properly.

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

9. (SBU) SECURITY: No criminal incidents involving American
staff were reported. RSO will issue a security notice
instructing American staff to report all in-country movements
outside of Rangoon city limits.

C-130 FLIGHTS
-------------

10. (SBU) Two C-130 flights were scheduled to arrive at
Rangoon International Airport today. The first landed at
1045 and departed at 1158 after unloading its cargo of relief
supplies. The second is expected to arrive at 1400 and
depart shortly thereafter. The planes will carry water,
blankets, mosquito netting, tarps, nylon rope, water buckets,
and plastic sheeting.

11. (SBU) We have received verbal clearance for five more
C-130 flights scheduled for May 14, and are awaiting written
confirmation from the GOB.


RANGOON 00000358 002 OF 002


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

12. (SBU) CASUALTIES AND DAMAGE: A local NGO with an
established presence in the delta reported that the cities of
Pathein and Myaungmya were not badly damaged but continued to
receive large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs)
from the worst hit areas. There are four IDP camps in
Pathein, two run by the GOB and two by local Christian
churches. There are 27 camps in Myaungmaya, five of which
are in monasteries or churches, and the remainder run by the
government. They expressed concern about the large number of
orphans in Pathein, which they estimated at over 500, and
were working to address this problem.

13. (SBU) RECOVERY AND RELIEF: The UN told us they now have
relief flights arriving in Rangoon every day, and that the
GOB was clearing and releasing supplies immediately. The GOB
has granted the UN a blanket endorsement for all incoming UN
flights provided they receive one day's advance notice by
phone. GOB officials told the UN that most relief supplies
are now being distributed in the delta by boat rather than
air.

14. (SBU) The UN and several well-established local and
international NGOs told us that authorities have not hampered
their relief activities in areas of the delta in which they
already had a presence or an existing Memorandum of
Understanding. Two NGOs with a presence in the delta
reported they have had no trouble in procuring needed goods
from local markets and transporting in goods they cannot get
locally. In one case, they pointed out that the Minister of
Transport has been working to ensure that an NGOs shipment of
water purification tablets would be off-loaded at the airport
and sent directly to NGO in the delta. As a result, they
told us they have been able to deliver supplies of food,
medicine, and clothing, and have deployed a medical team and
search and rescue teams to these areas. However, they noted
that conducting relief operations in areas where they did not
already have a presence before the storm has been more
difficult. Additionally, they were concerned that the
deployment of numerous high-level GOB officials to the
affected areas could complicate authorities' decision making,
although they acknowledged this has not yet happened.

15. (SBU) FUEL: Fuel prices in Rangoon remained stable.

16. (SBU) FOOD AND WATER: Food in Rangoon was still
expensive, especially meat and rice. Shortages in the delta
continued.

17. (SBU) ELECTRICITY: Power was restored to more
neighborhoods in Rangoon, but much of the city, and most of
the delta was without city power.

18. (SBU) LAW AND ORDER: We received no reports of
widespread looting or public disturbances in or around
Rangoon. RSO noted there continued to be a lack of nighttime
police presence at several police substations in central
Rangoon. RSO met with his police liaison on May 12. The
official asserted crime remained low, but did not provide any
substantive information on police staffing, specific
statistics or potential security threats.

19. (SBU) VISAS: GOB officials told the UN that all UN
visas would be granted without specifying when, but said
visas for NGO relief workers would be decided on a case by
case basis.
VILLAROSA

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