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Aid Organizations Face Continuing Hurdles in Myanmar

France, Britain and Germany called for humanitarian aid to continue to flow to cyclone-ravaged Myanmar despite sporadic government resistance. Andrew Kirkwood, country director for Save the Children in Myanmar, describes the challenges aid groups are facing.

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    Now, an update on efforts to get aid to the people of Myanmar, also known as Burma. Ray Suarez earlier today spoke with Andrew Kirkwood, the country director for Save the Children. He was in Yangon.


    Andrew Kirkwood of Save the Children, welcome back to the program.

    ANDREW KIRKWOOD, Save the Children: Thank you.


    You got a chance to head out to the affected areas in a helicopter. Tell us what you saw.


    I was able to get out on Saturday. And we were not able to fly as low as we would have liked. We flew most of the way at 3,000 or 4,000 feet.

    From that altitude, I mean, it really became clear the scale of the devastation to me for the first time, anyway. And large parts of the area we flew over were still underwater and, I mean, as far as one could see on either side of the helicopter.

    In some ways, I arrived back in Yangon slightly more hopeful than I had left, because in all the inundated areas, there were pockets of high ground, where people were obviously sheltering, and there were signs of people drying rice on plastic sheeting.

    And in most small- or medium-sized villages, there was at least one or two buildings that seemed to survive relatively unscathed. And we assume and certainly hope that people are sheltering in those buildings.


    There are a lot of people out in the open, though. And the rain is back?


    The weather, for five days or six days after the cyclone, the weather was quite good here. But it's turned really terrible again, and there are very high winds at the moment, and it's raining very heavily. And that's forecast to continue for the next three or four days.

    But I was worrying for two reasons. I mean, obviously, people who are living on the very flimsy, makeshift shelters of whatever they can find, I mean, this is going to be extremely, extremely difficult.

    And, also, the floodwaters are — this is going to slow down the floodwaters subsiding.