CHRONOLOGY-A month on, cyclone-hit Myanmar struggling
Mon Jun 2, 2008 8:34am EDT
(For related story see MYANAMR-CYCLONE/ or [ID:nBKK316740])
June 2 (Reuters) – A month after Cyclone Nargis struck army-ruled Myanmar, up to 2.4 million people are struggling to rebuild their lives. Here are key developments since the devastating cyclone hit the southeast Asian nation of 57 million people.
* May 2/3, 2008: Cyclone Nargis rips through the rice-growing Irrawaddy delta and former capital, Yangon, smashing homes and flattening trees with 120 mph (190 kph) winds and a 12 ft (3.5 metre) sea surge.
* May 5: As Myanmar state TV raises the death toll to nearly 4,000, U.S. First Lady Laura Bush criticises the junta for a slow response and urges it to accept U.S. offers of aid.
* May 6: First outside aid, a Thai military plane carrying food and medicine, arrives.
* May 7: France suggests invoking a U.N. “responsibility to protect” clause to get aid to cyclone victims without junta approval. Other countries dismiss the idea despite mounting frustration with the generals’ response to the disaster.
* May 9: Myanmar says it will accept foreign aid but not foreign rescue workers. U.N. appeals for $187 million in aid.
* May 10: Junta goes ahead with referendum in most of the country on an army-drafted constitution that it sees as a key step in a seven-step “roadmap to democracy”.
* May 12: First U.S. military flight lands in Yangon. The following day Myanmar rejects U.S. offers to distribute the aid.
* May 15: U.N. raises its estimate for the number of severely affected people from 1.5 million to between 1.6-2.5 million.
* May 16 : Myanmar state television raises official toll to 77,738 dead and 55,917 missing.
* May 20: Three days of mourning start for the 134,000 dead or missing. World Bank says it can’t give financial aid as Myanmar has not been repaying its debt since 1998.
* May 21: Myanmar says it wants more than $11 billion in aid for victims ahead of a donor conference.
* May 22: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrives on humanitarian mission. Junta supremo Than Shwe promises him “all” aid workers will be allowed in.
* May 24: Constitutional referendum held in Yangon and the delta. The junta quickly announces that the charter has passed with 92.5 percent support on a 98.1 percent turnout.
* May 25: More than 50 countries pledge nearly $50 million at U.N.-organised donor conference in Yangon.
* May 27: Junta extends house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for another year.
* May 30: Authorities begin evicting destitute families from government-run cyclone relief camps, apparently fearing the ‘tented villages’ may become permanent.
Source: Reuters (Writing by Gillian Murdoch, Beijing Editorial Reference Unit; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)