Queuing for a sack of rice, bottled water, and plastic sheeting is a daily routine for Myanmar’s cyclone survivors. Meagre aid distribution is gathering pace, but, under pressure from regional group ASEAN, the reclusive generals running the country have at last agreed to let in foreign medical workers. ASEAN is also trying to set up an umbrella organisation for aid agencies from outside South East Asia, and the UN’s Ban Ki Moon is expected to arrive this week.
The military junta’s number one Than Shwe has made his first visit to the shattered heart of the disaster zone, and is due to meet Ban Ki Moon. Until now he has refused to pick up the phone when the UN’s boss has tried to call him.