May 23, 2008 (DVB), Humanitarian intervention is needed if the Burmese regime continues to obstruct the delivery of international aid to cyclone victims, the prime minister of the Burmese government-in-exile told DVB.
National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma prime minister Dr Sein Win criticised the Burmese junta's response to the disaster and failure to provide timely assistance to victims.
"The cyclone hit Burma on 3 May but the regime hasn't taken any effective measures to carry out an aid operation to meet the needs of those in the worst-hit areas," Sein Win said.
"Also, local authorities have misappropriated the international aid already allowed in for their own benefit."
The premier said effective distribution of aid was still enormously important to alleviate the current sufferings of the people.
"Massive effective distribution of aid is urgently needed to improve the living conditions of the victims but the junta doesn't have the capacity to tackle the current crisis," Sein Win said.
"It has been 17 days that women, children and the elderly have been surviving without drinking water and food," he said.
"We have to stop this situation. To do so, we need humanitarian intervention."
Sein Win called for the United States and all donor countries to do everything they can to start massive relief operations 'immediately' when he testified before the US Congress.
He said he supported any move that will enable the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Burma regardless of what the junta thinks.
United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has said since Sein Win's statement that senior general Than Shwe has agreed to let all foreign aid workers into the country for relief work in cyclone-hit areas.
However, it is not yet clear if they will be given free access to the worst-affected areas.
Naval vessels loaded with relief supplies from France, the US and the UK are still waiting in international waters off the coast of Burma for permission to move in.
Reporting by Nan Khan Kaew