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Cablegate: Indonesian Quake a No-Show in Burma

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS RANGOON 000368

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV
BANGKOK FOR USAID, FAS
USPACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PGOV BM
SUBJECT: INDONESIAN QUAKE A NO-SHOW IN BURMA

1. Summary: The March 28 earthquake off Indonesia apparently
has had no impact on Burma. Embassy efforts to contact
coastal resorts failed, but there is no evidence that Amcits
were in any danger. GOB officials were unaware of the quake
last night until alerted by embassy officers. Local
diplomats told us they too were awakened by their
headquarters and attempted to contact the GOB to no avail.
UN agencies have checked in with officers in areas hard hit
by the December tsunami and found no damage in those regions.
We see no reason to doubt the UN assessment. End summary.

UN: No Damage

2. According to a senior UNDP official in Rangoon, the
earthquake has had no impact on Burma so far as the UN knows.
The UNDP project office in the Irrawaddy delta, the hardest
hit area from the December 26th tsunami, reported in that
there was no damage from the latest quake -- though waves
were a bit higher than normal. UNDP said there was no
overnight action taken by the UN Country Team. She said she
learned about the quake only on the morning of the 29th and
had not consulted with the GOB on potential impact in other
areas besides the delta. A World Food Program regional
assessment of the March 28 earthquake concurred with UNDP's
conclusion.

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GOB: No Idea

3. This assessment is apparently shared by the GOB.
Following Ops Center notification of Embassy Rangoon in the
early hours of March 29th, DAO contacted the Foreign Liaison
Officer at the Ministry of Defense (MOD) and Conoff phoned
MOFA to pass on the news. Both MOFA and MOD were grateful
for the information, as they had not yet heard. Both said
they would immediately brief superiors regarding the
situation. We have not received any information from MOFA or
MOD regarding GOB reaction to the earthquake or potential
damage to Burmese coastal areas.

Amcits: Calls to Beach Resorts, But No Warden Message

4. Upon notification by the Ops Center, DCM and Conoff
attempted for three hours, without success, to reach resort
hotels in the Bay of Bengal area (these remote resorts often
do not have functioning telephone service). While continuing
these attempts, COM and Conoff decided not to activate the
warden system telephone tree as by that time there was no
sign from press reportage that there was a tsunami, and no
registered Americans reside in the coastal areas likely to be
hit by one.

Foreign Diplomats: No News

5. We have heard no further information from foreign
diplomats stationed in Rangoon. However, diplomats from
China, Vietnam, Laos, South Korea, Russia, and Thailand told
us they too had been awakened by their headquarters in case
the quake caused damage in Burma, but that they had no reason
to doubt the assessment by the UNDP.
Martinez

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