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Cablegate: Burma Cyclone: Usaid/Dart Situation Report #14

O 221115Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7651
AMEMBASSY BANGKOK IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU IMMEDIATE
USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE
INFO NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS RANGOON 000409

AIDAC

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, PRM, DRL
STATE ALSO PASS TO USAID
AID/W FOR DCHA/FFP AND DCHA/OTI
AID/W FOR DCHA/OFDA KLUU, ACONVERY, RTHAYER
BANGKOK FOR DCHA/OFDA WBERGER AND RBARTON
KATHMANDU FOR DCHA/OFDA SMCINTYRE
USMISSION GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
USMISSION USUN FOR FSHANKS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID SENV KSCA TBIO BM PREF
SUBJECT: BURMA CYCLONE: USAID/DART SITUATION REPORT #14


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Rangoon on May 22
and met with the Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein, according to
media reports. Members of the USAID Disaster Assistance Response
Team (USAID/DART) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Joint
Task Force airlifted five flights of relief commodities to Rangoon
on May 22. Three of the flights will be consigned to international
non-governmental organization (NGO) partners. Since the cyclone
made landfall, the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) has dispatched
1,200 metric tons (MT) of food to affected areas and distributed
1,143 MT of food. End Summary.

------------------------------
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION
------------------------------

2. According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA), the Government of Burma continues to report that the
cyclone killed 77,738 people, with 55,917 reported missing.

3. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Rangoon on May 22
and met with the Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein, according to
media reports. The U.N. Secretary General is scheduled to travel to
cyclone-affected areas of the Irrawaddy Delta on May 22 and meet
Senior General Than Shwe in the capital of Naypyitaw on May 23.

------------------------------
GOB RESPONSE
------------------------------

4. In Labutta Township, GOB authorities have now set up 12 tented
camps for cyclone-affected populations, which the GOB plans to
operate for six months. The GOB announced that all other temporary
shelters in Labutta would be closed down by June 9.

------------------------------
U.S. GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
------------------------------

5. The USAID/DART remains in Thailand, coordinating U.S. Government
(USG) humanitarian assistance and awaiting GOB approval to enter
Burma. However, DART leader Bill Berger is now in Rangoon. The
USAID/DART and staff from the DOD Joint Task Force airlifted five
flights of relief commodities to Rangoon on May 22. Three of the
flights will be consigned to international NGO partners. The USG
has airlifted 45 flights of relief commodities to date.

------------------------------
HUMANITARIAN COORDINATION
------------------------------

6. U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Sir John Holmes met with Dr.
Surin Pitsuwan, the Secretary General of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Rangoon to discuss coordination
arrangements between the U.N., international humanitarian
organizations, ASEAN, and the GOB.

---------------------
SHELTER
---------------------

7. The shelter cluster in Rangoon reported that humanitarian
organizations have distributed more than 160,000 plastic sheets as
of May 21. The shelter cluster in Rangoon has developed three
possible distribution scenarios for shelter materials, the most
likely of which indicates a 37 percent coverage rate after six
weeks. The NGO CARE International is planning to distribute 7,500
shelter kits, 500 of which have been distributed in Rangoon Division
to date. At the shelter cluster meeting in Bangkok, participants
citing examples from other emergencies in similar climatic
conditions determined that the minimum requirement for household
emergency shelter kits should be two plastic sheets, and that one
sheet does not constitute satisfactory shelter.

8. Shelter cluster participants suggested that due to availability
of materials and warehouse space in Bangkok, combined with
operational difficulties in Rangoon, shelter kits should be
pre-packaged in Bangkok. Warehouse space will be provided by
logistics cluster, and the shelter cluster is discussing the
logistical supported needed in Bangkok.

9. The shelter cluster noted that the Office of the U.N. High
Commissioner for Refugees is planning to contract with a surveying
and monitoring team to assess building material availability in
Burma and monitor prices.

---------------------
FOOD ASSISTANCE
---------------------

10. The GOB Ministry of Commerce has granted WFP permission to
import an initial 10,000 MT of rice through usual suppliers, as part
of the agreement for the delivery of food assistance for six months
in the Irrawaddy Delta. WFP noted that feeding 750,000 people for
three months, as planned in the U.N. Flash Appeal, will require
55,000 MT of rice, of which only 50 percent may be procured in
country. The food cluster has completed a rapid survey on food
security in Rangoon and is now analyzing the data.

11. Since the cyclone made landfall, WFP has dispatched 1,200 MT of
food to affected areas and distributed 1,143 MT of food. WFP now
estimates reaching approximately 304,000 beneficiaries with
food support as of May 21. WFP has imported 15 MT of ready-to-eat
meals for cyclone-affected populations that have no access to
cooking facilities. WFP shipped the five MT of ready-to-eat food to
Labutta by water transport on May 20.

12. The local food cluster in Labutta has prepared a food
distribution plan that includes a network of 12 distribution points
serving 51 villages, as well as direct distribution to camps. WFP,
the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), and the U.N. Children's Fund
will collaborate in the distribution. The WFP sub-office in Labutta
reported reaching approximately 13,780 beneficiaries in 15 villages
around Labutta with food distributions as of May 21. WFP,
UNDP, PACT, Medicins sans Frontieres Holland, and Merlin have
distributed 12.4 MT of rice, 600 kg of high-energy biscuits and 72
kg of vegetable oil.

-------------------------------
LOGISTICS
-------------------------------

13. The logistics cluster reported that the staging area at Don
Muang airport will have one area for items locally procured in
Thailand and one for international cargo in transit to Burma. The
logistics cluster noted that the inter-agency warehouse in Rangoon
is operational and being managed by DHL on behalf of the cluster.
The logistics cluster in Rangoon has contracted 30 trucks for the
onward distribution of relief commodities. The trucks will be
positioned at the cluster warehouse on May 22, and will be used
beginning May 23 when fuel is available.

14. The logistics cluster reported that the first U.N. helicopter is
expected to arrive in Rangoon on May 22.
Three barges are operational, ranging from 200 MT to 800 MT in
capacity. The first barge to Bogale township was loaded with relief
supplies for the NGO Action Contre la Faim, including 25 MT of
high-energy biscuits and five MT of kitchen sets, cooking sets,
hygiene kits, and plastic sheeting. The second barge will travel to
Labutta, carrying 700 MT of food for WFP and 24.5 MT of emergency
relief supplies for the NGO Merlin.

15. The logistics cluster reported that four warehouses are
operational in Labutta, and locations for logistics hubs have been
identified in Bogale, Pyapon, and Pathein townships.

VILLAROSA

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