Cablegate: Burma: Cyclone Nargis Sitrep No. 18
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHTRO
DE RUEHGO #0404/01 1420728
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 210728Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7643
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1217
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 4761
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8305
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5867
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3742
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1653
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 000404
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. 18
REF: A. RANGOON 398 AND PREVIOUS
B. RANGOON 401
1. (SBU) EMBASSY OPERATIONS: Embassy Rangoon operated on
city power and had full diesel fuel tanks. The consular
section resumed visa services on May 21. No criminal
incidents involving American staff were reported.
2. (SBU) U.S. RELIEF FLIGHTS: Five C-130 flights carrying
relief supplies were cleared and scheduled to arrive in
Rangoon on May 21. None of them have been consigned to NGOs.
We have requested clearance for five more flights tomorrow,
3. (SBU) SITUATION ON THE GROUND: May 21 was the first day
of a three-day mourning period for the victims of the cyclone
throughout the country. Embassy LES staff who traveled to
the delta region over the weekend reported that a great need
still exists for relief supplies. OFDA/DART team leader Bill
Berger will arrive in Rangoon on the afternoon of May 21. He
plans to attend the diplomatic tour of cyclone affected areas
on May 23. Fuel prices have nearly reached pre-cyclone
levels and food prices continued to drop, although they
remained higher than normal.
4. (SBU) STAFFING AND OPERATIONS: Embassy Rangoon operated
on its normal 0800-1630 schedule subject to a liberal leave
policy. Other than those on regularly scheduled leave, a
full complement of local employees reported for work.
5. (SBU) CONSULAR: Consular resumed visa services on May
21. Post received secondhand information from the OCS desk
officer about an Amcit in Cambodia who said his friend John
(no other details) was swept away in the cyclone. Consular
is inquiring with international organizations to determine
whether they have any information about this report.
6. (SBU) AUTHORIZED DEPARTURE: No EFMs have departed post
or requested to leave since May 13.
7. (SBU) FUEL AND POWER: The Embassy operated on city power
and had full diesel storage tanks.
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
10. (SBU) Five C-130 flights carrying relief supplies were
cleared and scheduled to arrive in Rangoon on May 21. None
of the goods on these flights were consigned to an NGO. We
have requested clearance for flights on May 22, including
three consignment flights.
SITUATION ON THE GROUND
12. (SBU) CONDITIONS, CASUALTIES AND DAMAGE: May 21 was the
first day of the three day mourning period for the victims of
the cyclone the GOB declared on May 19. All flags around
Rangoon, including at the U.S. Embassy, are at half-mast.
Embassy LES staff who traveled to the delta region this past
weekend reported seeing camps that the government had set up
recently for the benefit of Than Shwe's visit to the area.
They reported that a great need still exists for relief goods
to the area, and did see NGOs bringing goods in that went to
RANGOON 00000404 002 OF 002
the victims of the cyclone.
13. (SBU) RECOVERY AND RELIEF: Bill Berger, the OFDA/DART
team leader, will arrive in Rangoon on the afternoon of May
21. He expects to receive a visa on arrival and plans to
attend the diplomatic tour of cyclone-affected areas on May
23. The UN confirmed today that the GOB had accepted their
offer of 9 helicopters. They also informed us that visas for
UN disaster experts were being issued by the GOB "slowly but
14. (SBU) FUEL: Fuel prices in Rangoon nearly returned to
pre-cyclone levels. We no longer observed long lines at
automobile fuel stations (CNG and gasoline). Econ contacts
reported three shiploads of diesel fuel are now arriving in
Rangoon each week. (Reported Septel, Rangoon 401.)
15. (SBU) FOOD AND WATER: Food prices in Rangoon continued
to drop but most were still higher than before the cyclone.
Shortages in the delta continued.
16. (SBU) ELECTRICITY: The GOB continued to restore power
to parts of Rangoon, focusing on the eastern, western, and
northern parts of the city.
17. (SBU) LAW AND ORDER: We received no reports of
widespread looting or public disturbances in or around