Miliband criticises Burma's cyclone response

David Miliband said Burma's response has been inadequate
David Miliband said Burma's response has been inadequate

Efforts by Burma's military junta to help people in the wake of the devastating cyclone that struck a week ago have been criticised by the foreign secretary.

David Miliband said aid efforts by the country's officials have been "inadequate to the scale of the disaster" and warned the situation is turning into a "humanitarian catastrophe of genuinely epic proportions".

He accused the military junta of "malign neglect" and condemned it for resisting offers of international aid.

Burma original claimed that about 30,000 people had been killed by the cyclone, but speaking on The Politics Show Mr Miliband said he will be amazed if the death toll is less than 100,000.


"The message that has come back from Rangoon from our ambassador there to Douglas Alexander, the development secretary, and myself overnight paints a very grim picture," he added.

There have been some positive signs, however, Mr Miliband claimed.

"There is clearly some international aid now being accepted, some visas have been issued which has always been important for aid workers," he said.

And he added that Britain's ambassador in Rangoon, Mark Canning, reports that trucks are starting to head south in order to get to the most devastated areas.

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