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U.S. Air Force Delivers Five Plane Loads of Supplies to Burmese People

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2008 – Five more Air Force C-130 Hercules airlifters delivered supplies to Burma yesterday, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said here today.

This brings the total flights into the cyclone-ravaged country up to 36, with more than 800,000 pounds of relief supplies delivered, Whitman said.

“We continue to plan more flights, but … it’s on a day-by-day basis,” he said.

Burmese military junta leaders must approve each and every relief flight coming in to the country. The official death toll from Cyclone Nargis has been set at 78,000 with 56,000 still unaccounted for. Second order effects -- water-borne illnesses, starvation, exposure etc. -- may kill thousands more, United Nations officials said.

The American effort airlifted U.S. Agency for International Development relief supplies into Rangoon. The C-130s brought in water, blankets, hygiene kits, insecticide-treated bed nets to protect against malaria, plastic sheeting for shelter, food, rice, and medical supplies.

Each hygiene kit is intended to last a family of five for two weeks and includes: detergent, toilet paper, toothpaste and tooth brushes, sanitary napkins, razors, soap bars, shampoo and combs.

Water jugs are 2.5-gallon collapsible plastic containers.

The U.S. effort is enough to help 131,000 people. However, United Nations officials estimate that about 2.4 million people in the Irrawaddy River delta need some form of aid. Overall, the U.S. effort has delivered $19.1 million in aid to the country.

U.S. ships remain off the coast of Burma ready to help if and when the Burmese junta allows them to do so, U.S. officials said.

American helicopters remain on alert in neighboring Thailand to aid in delivering relief supplies to those most affected by the storm.

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