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Burma junta callous, says Rudd -

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Burma junta callous, says Rudd

Broadcast: 14/05/2008

Reporter: Karen Percy

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has described Burma's military junta's response to the disaster caused by
Cyclone Nargis as callous.


SUE LANNIN: The quick response in China has been in stark contrast to the reaction of the
Government in Burma.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has described the ruling Junta's response to the crisis as "callous".

With little aid getting through and cruel weather ahead, survivors now face hunger and disease.

South East Asia correspondent Karen Percy reports.

KAREN PERCY: After days of diplomatic wrangling, a US military plane loaded with aid finally
touched down in Rangoon. The aid was welcome. But the Americans on board were given a cursory great
greeting and then sent on their way.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESWOMAN: It's not enough, it's a drop in the bucket for what they're
going to need. We would hope that the Burmese Junta would allow more flights to come in.

KAREN PERCY: Thirty-one tonnes of aid from Australia landed today.

KEVIN RUDD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: It has been appallingly difficult to get assistance into
Burma, and once in, to have guarantee of its proper distribution. The response of the regime in
Burma to this crisis has been absolutely callous.

KAREN PERCY: As the people become more desperate the military leaders of Burma remain unwilling to
accept the help of foreign aid workers.

By some reports, rice supplies inside the country are almost gone. UNICEF is concerned about how
the many affected children will cope without food.

RICHARD BRIDIE, UNICEF: We'll have to set up screening systems to find those children that are
acutely malnourished and make sure they get treatment for that acute malnutrition. If they are not
treated, they will die.

KAREN PERCY: The threat of disease is increasing by the day. Now, the weather forecast is ominous.

TERJE SKAVDAL, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: The rain within the coming week, it will be equal for the full
rainfall in May last year.

KAREN PERCY: That could scuttle what little aid is getting into the country with disastrous results
for the 1.5 million people still in need.

Karen Percy for Lateline.