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UN criticises Burma for slow response to cycl -

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ELEANOR HALL: The United Nations Secretary General has again criticised the Burmese military regime
for its response to Cyclone Nargis.

Ban Ki-moon says he still has not been able to speak to the leader of the regime and he's immensely
frustrated by the delays in getting aid to victims of the cyclone.

Burma's state media is now putting the death toll from the cyclone at almost 32,000 people and
another 30,000 people are still missing.

Sara Everingham has our report.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Cyclone Nargis hit south-east Burma 11 days ago. Aid agencies say survivors are in
desperate need of food and shelter but for many it's slow getting to them.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has issued a warning to Burmese authorities.

BAN KI-MOON: I want to register my deep concern and immense frustration at the unacceptably slow
response to this grave humanitarian crisis.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Ban Ki-moon says it's a critical point.

The United Nations estimates up to two million people in Burma are at risk of starvation or
disease.

BAN KI-MOON: It must do all that it can to prevent this disaster from becoming even more serious.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Ban Ki-moon says he's been trying in vain to contact Burma's senior general so he
sent him a letter instead asking for visas for key UN personnel.

There has been some progress, the UN reports it expects 34 visas for its staff will be granted but
it is not enough for the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

GORDON BROWN: This is completely unacceptable. There must be unfettered access to humanitarian
agencies. We've already made available five million pounds. We've got an humanitarian team now in
Rangoon to assess all options for getting help through to people in need.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Doctors without Borders was working in Burma before the cyclone hit - it's just
one agency that's had trouble bringing more staff into the country.

DWB SPOKESMAN: With a few exceptions the government is insisting that we run the operation through
national staff. We are in a good position in that sense because we had a huge program in Burma
before the cyclone hit so we can draw on the national staff that was already in the country but
that makes the restrictions for other agencies much more serious and overall the response to this
massive event is far below what is needed.

SARA EVERINGHAM: But once in the country aid agencies are facing restrictions from authorities on
their movements and some are unable to get to the area worst hit by the cyclone, the Irrawaddy
delta.

A plane load of aid was allowed in from the United States last night as White House Press
Secretary, Dana Perino explains.

DANA PERINO: And we would hope that the Burmese junta would allow more flights to come in. We now
that two more will be allowed to land tomorrow but again, there is a little bit of like a drop in
the bucket.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The frustration has some calling for the normal protocols to be dumped and for the
UN to intervene under its responsibility to protect principle.

Gareth Evans is the President of the Brussels based International Crisis Group and he was one of
the architects of the principle.

GARETH EVANS: It is about responding to mass-atrocity crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes
against humanity. It is not about natural disasters as such but it is about, among other things,
crimes against humanity.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The members of the UN Security Council are split on the whether the principles
should be used in this case.

And Gareth Evans says it's a tough question for the international community

GARETH EVANS: If you have a situation as catastrophic as that which is now unfolding with the
Generals apparently so completely indifferent to the consequences of their resistance to aid coming
in, the proper amounts and the proper resources, then a very real question does arise as to whether
or not this isn't a crime against humanity within the international definition of a kind that would
justify international intervention.

You've always got to think long and hard about doing anything cohesively against the will of the
government in question.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Heavy rain expected in Burma over the next week will make life even more difficult
for survivors and for those attempting to help them.

ELEANOR HALL: Sara Everingham reporting.