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U.N. Obtains Visas for Myanmar, Reporter Says

As nearly 2 million survivors of a cyclone that struck Myanmar remained at risk Wednesday, an unidentified NPR reporter there told co-host Steve Inskeep that there is a bit of good news: The United Nations was able to get a few visas for personnel who have been waiting in Bangkok.

But visas for other workers still aren't going through, says the reporter, whose name is not revealed for safety reasons, as Western reporters are not welcome in Myanmar.

Meantime, some business people report that incoming aid is being siphoned off and sold, but that's difficult to prove, the reporter says.


He says he has tried to travel down to the Irrawaddy River delta but was turned back by police, who want to control the situation there. He was able to get to a small village about 1.5 hours from Yangon, though. He says the people there huddled in a small temple when the storm started, and it saved their lives.

They spent 10 hours in a space the size of a studio apartment, and when they emerged, "38 of their 40-odd houses were gone," he says. In the 12 days since the storm, they had received no assistance from the government.

"They've received two 20-kilogram bags of rice from some local charities, and that's it," he says.

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