Bush says world should condemn Myanmar
By FOSTER KLUG, Associated Press WriterMon May 12, 5:46 PM ET


President Bush said Monday that an angry world should condemn the way Myanmar's military rulers are handling the aftermath of a devastating cyclone.
"Here they are with a major catastrophe on their hands, and (they) do not allow there to be the full kind of might of a compassionate world to help them," Bush said.
Asked in a CBS News radio interview if the isolated generals running the country were more concerned about their own grip on power than with helping their own people, Bush answered, "That's the only conclusion you can draw."
U.S. officials have complained that skilled aid workers are being forced to sit on the sidelines, waiting for permission from the government to enter, as victims of the cyclone die.
Bush said "the world ought to be angry and condemn the government" of Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Ky Luu, the director of the U.S. office of foreign disaster assistance, said "there's massive concern" about whether U.S. aid for Myanmar's cyclone victims will get to those suffering from disease and lack of food and water.
Luu told reporters at the State Department that the United States plans to rely on aid groups to track the supplies flown into the country Monday on a U.S. military C-130 cargo plane. U.S. officials were not allowed to accompany the supplies to the areas hardest hit.
Luu acknowledged that it is difficult to determine what will happen to the aid in the tightly controlled, military-led country.
"We have to stay optimistic, support the in-country team and hope that the commodities will be able to reach the beneficiaries," he said.
Luu was questioned about the lack of U.S. control over the distribution of the supplies. "What we are trying to do here is react, on the one hand, to the immediate humanitarian imperative; on the other hand, we do want to make sure to be able to verify and track these commodities," he said.
Luu urged Myanmar to allow U.S. disaster experts into the country to make sure the aid gets to the people in need.
Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said the plane that landed Monday carried water, mosquito nets and blankets and that Myanmar has given permission for two more C-130 flights.
The local government is taking possession of the goods and working to distribute them, Whitman said. He said the U.S. is still talking to the Myanmar junta about the possibility of U.S. distribution of aid in the country.
Luu said Myanmar's allowing U.S. flights of aid is a good start, but the supplies represent only a small fraction of what the U.S. and others are prepared to give.
The Navy's USS Essex expeditionary strike group is expected to arrive off Myanmar on Tuesday. It was in the region to participate in a multinational military exercise in the Gulf of Thailand.
The White House said the United States was prepared to provide an additional $13 million in food and logistical assistance to the United Nations' world food program for distribution to cyclone victims, bringing overall U.S. aid to $16.25 million.
Also Monday, the Treasury Department said it was removing the limit on funds that Americans are allowed to send to family and friends in Myanmar.

Previously, remittances to Myanmar were only permitted if the total did not exceed $300 per Myanmar household in any consecutive three-month period.
___ Associated Press writers Pauline Jelinek, Tom Raum and Matthew Lee contributed to this report.