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Diplomats tour cyclone zone, but Myanmar still refuses aid

Diplomats tour cyclone zone, but Myanmar still refuses aid
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Faced with the mounting criticism from world leaders, Myanmar’s military junta has flown some diplomats and aid workers into the southern Irrawaddy Delta – the zone worst affected by a cyclone two weeks ago. The visitors said the area has suffered huge devastation and recovery could take up to a year.

Meanwhile navy ships from France and the United States are positioned off the coast of the country, stocked with emergency supplies of food and shelter, but have not been able to enter. The French defence ministry says it’s still talking with the generals about how to deliver its aid.

But although Myanmar’s state tv says the military has spent millions on aid deliveries, agencies say only a fraction is getting through to the estimated two million survivors battling to stay alive in the delta.

Witnesses report seeing desperate refugees begging by the roadside for help. The generals are allowing in some aid flights and medical teams, but fearing a threat to their grip on power, are still refusing full scale assistance from abroad.