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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05RANGOON31
2005-01-06 10:29:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Rangoon
Cable title:  

TFXO01: (1/6) UN BRIEFS DIPLOMATIC CORPS, ASKS FOR

Tags:   AEMR  CASC  PREL  PINR  PGOV  AMGT  KFLO  BM 
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						UNCLAS RANGOON 000031 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV, CA TASK FORCE, OPS CENTER
BANGKOK FOR USAID, FAS
USPACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR CASC PREL PINR PGOV AMGT KFLO BM
SUBJECT: TFXO01: (1/6) UN BRIEFS DIPLOMATIC CORPS, ASKS FOR
USG HELP

REF: RANGOON 22 AND PREVIOUS

UNCLAS RANGOON 000031

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV, CA TASK FORCE, OPS CENTER
BANGKOK FOR USAID, FAS
USPACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR CASC PREL PINR PGOV AMGT KFLO BM
SUBJECT: TFXO01: (1/6) UN BRIEFS DIPLOMATIC CORPS, ASKS FOR
USG HELP

REF: RANGOON 22 AND PREVIOUS


1. (SBU) Summary: The UN briefed diplomats on January 6th on
the results of recently completed assessment missions to
affected parts of Burma. These surveys were conducted
without any GOB interference and did not discover any areas
of massive damage or death -- though the teams have not yet
visited all areas hit by the tsunamis. The UN estimates "at
most" 15,000 people were "impacted" in one way or another.
UN agencies are providing emergency and medium-term
assistance and have asked for USG assistance in providing
satellite imagery of the Burmese coastal regions. End
summary.

UN Tries to Set Record Straight


2. (U) The UN Country Team (UNCT) in Burma and the
International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) held a
briefing for diplomats on January 6th to try and further
dispel rumors of mass devastation and death in the country
due to the December 26th earthquakes and tsunamis. Teams
from the Red Cross, various international NGOs, the World
Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF, and ICRC have had unfettered
access to the impacted regions of Burma -- though they have
not yet visited all potentially affected villages and
islands.


3. (SBU) The GOB has not made any official request for aid,
but is "willing to accept international assistance." In
response to this, the PRC government on January 5th donated
$200,000 directly to the GOB. UN officials have asked us for
our assistance in providing satellite imagery of unvisited
areas to help in their assessments and for planning future
missions (septel). Aside from this request, the UNCT has not
made any appeal to us or other bilateral donors specifically
for Burma relief. The UN is folding Burma into the regional
appeal launched on the 6th in Jakarta. UN sources told us
that once further assessments are complete, the UN and IFRC
may make specific appeals for Burma. However they would
probably broaden the requests to include money for general
development work in areas not directly affected by the
earthquakes and tsunamis.

Tally is Stable, Though Some Uncertainty Remains


4. (SBU) The IFRC, which is coordinating the international
community's response in Burma, released on January 5th a
revised matrix of the extent of the damage in Burma based on
the various field missions. This update revised downward the
number of homeless to 5,272 from 6,250 on December 30th as
some people have rebuilt their homes or moved in with family
members. The WFP, the lead UN agency for the tsunami
response, estimates at most 15,000 people "impacted" in one
way or another by the tsunamis.


5. (SBU) The IFRC's estimates of dead, injured, and missing
remain, for now, 86, 45, and 10 respectively. However, the
IFRC passed on unverified reports from Tanintharyi Division
in southeastern Burma that 25 additional fishermen may have
been killed and 200 houses destroyed on a yet unvisited
island northwest of Kawthaung. It is possible the number of
missing may also be higher since it is unclear exactly how
many fishing boats were in coastal Burmese waters at the time
of the tsunamis.

Americans are OK


6. (U) Embassy Rangoon's Consular Section continues to work
through remaining welfare/whereabouts inquiries.
There have still been no reports of American Citizen
casualties or verified cases of missing Americans. Travel to
touristed beach areas on the Bay of Bengal west and northwest
of Rangoon was not disrupted by the tsunamis. Local travel
agents offering package trips to the islands of Tanintharyi
Division have said they are operating as normal.
McMullen