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Cablegate: Burma: Cyclone Nargis Sitrep No. 8

VZCZCXRO3808
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHTRO
DE RUEHGO #0376/01 1350708
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 140708Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7590
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1188
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 4732
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8276
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5838
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3707
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1607
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 RANGOON 000376

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. 8

REF: A. RANGOON 365
B. RANGOON 358 AND PREVIOUS

SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) EMBASSY OPERATIONS: Embassy Rangoon operated on
city power and had full diesel fuel tanks. As of May 13, all
EFMs who asked to leave had departed post and were in
Bangkok. Further to pending welfare and whereabouts
inquires, consular currently has only two Amcits unaccounted
for and continues to investigate. No criminal incidents
involving American staff were reported.

2. (SBU) C-130 FLIGHTS: Five C-130 relief flights were
scheduled to arrive at Rangoon International Airport on May
14. Five more C-130 relief flights are scheduled to arrive
on May 15. On May 14, the GOB's New Light of Myanmar
newspaper published accurate and detailed information on the
relief supplies we delivered.

3. (SBU) SITUATION ON THE GROUND: According to the World
Health Organization (WHO), health conditions in the delta
continued to deteriorate, although they had not yet confirmed
any cases of cholera. The results of initial tests by the
GOB should be available in a few days. The UN has worked
with the GOB and NGOs to provided water purification tablets,
basic medicines, cholera test kits, tetanus shots, and
measles vaccinations to those in need in the delta. A senior
GOB civil aviation official told us that the Pathein airport
may not currently have the capacity to accommodate relief
flights, but his office was willing to try to work to improve
its capabilities so that it could. An INGO operating in the
delta reported that the UN told them that the GOB may require
foreigners working in the delta to leave the area, except for
Bangladeshis and Thais. We are seeking to confirm this.

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: Further to pending welfare and
whereabouts inquires, consular currently has only two Amcits
unaccounted for and continues to investigate. Consular
received an e-mail today from a person in Germany who was
worried that his Amcit friend in a remote monastery near
Mawlamyine had typhoid. Consular was able first to talk with
the Mawlamyine Hospital's attending doctor, who said her
diagnosis was that the Amit does not have typhoid, but rather
is suffering from gastroentitis and dehydration. The doctor
has treated him with intravenous antibiotics and fluids.
Consular then spoke directly with the Amcit who said he is
feeling better but still weak and will rest before traveling
by car to Rangoon on Friday May 16. He said he intends to
depart for Germany on May 17, and Consular will assist him
with his travel arrangements.

6. (SBU) AUTHORIZED DEPARTURE AND FLIGHTS: As of May 13, all
EFMs who asked to leave had departed post and were in Bangkok.

7. (SBU) FUEL AND POWER: The Embassy operated on city power
and had full diesel storage tanks. We did not have any fuel
deliveries scheduled for today but expect to receive a high
octane delivery tomorrow, May 15.

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.

U.S. RELIEF FLIGHTS
-------------------

RANGOON 00000376 002 OF 003

10. (SBU) Five C-130 relief flights were scheduled to arrive
at Rangoon International Airport on May 14. The first
arrived at 0840 hrs, the second arrived at 0957 hrs, and the
third arrived at 1105 hrs Rangoon time. The remaining two
were scheduled to arrive at 1411 and 1511 hrs. We have five
more C-130 relief flights are scheduled to arrive tomorrow,
May 15.

11. (SBU) On May 14, the GOB's mouthpiece daily newspaper
New Light of Myanmar published accurate and detailed
information on the relief supplies we delivered, which helps
to ensure accountability. The May 13 edition carried
extensive and favorable coverage of the initial C-130 flight
and USAID Administrator Fore and PACOM Commander Admiral
Keating's meeting with GOB officials.

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

12. (SBU) CASUALTIES AND DAMAGE: According to the World
Health Organization (WHO), health conditions in the delta
continued to deteriorate. Health professionals remained
concerned about the spread of diseases, including cholera,
typhoid, dysentery, and measles, although they have yet to
confirm any cholera cases. The Ministry of Health (MOH) told
WHO there is no shortage of doctors in the affected areas,
but is challenged by how best to deliver medicines and
treatment to the people.

13. (SBU) RECOVERY AND RELIEF: Eight foreign aid flights,
including our two C-130s, landed in Rangoon on May 13. A
senior official from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA)
told us that the Pathein airport may not currently have the
capacity to accommodate some types of large aircraft.
However, he said that the DCA was willing to work on
improving capabilities at the airport, including bringing out
the necessary ground handling equipment and arranging for
refueling in Rangoon, if necessary. He urged us to encourage
the GOB to allow flights into Pathein, and said the DCA would
do what it can to support the proposal.

14. (SBU) The WHO told us that, in conjunction with the MOH
and NGOs, the UN has provided water purification tablets,
basic medicines, cholera test kits, tetanus shots, and
measles vaccinations to those in need in the delta. The MOH
was conducting stool sample tests to determine if cholera was
present in the affected areas of the delta and Rangoon.
Initial results should be available within a few days.

15. (SBU) An INGO operating in the delta reported that the UN
told them the GOB may require foreigners working in the delta
to leave the area, except for Bangladeshis and Thais. We are
seeking to confirm this information with other contacts.

16. (SBU) Further to reftel A, we continued to monitor local
markets in Rangoon and the delta for signs of diverted relief
supplies, but so far have found no evidence that any have
been diverted and sold.

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

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

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

20. (SBU) LAW AND ORDER: We received no reports of
widespread looting or public disturbances in or around
Rangoon.

21. (SBU) VISAS: Several INGOs reported a number of their
foreign staff have successfully obtained visas from Burmese

RANGOON 00000376 003 OF 003


embassies in their home capitals. Embassy staff have
confirmed at least seven expatriate aid workers from an INGO
and a western aid agency received visas in the past week.
VILLAROSA

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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