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Myanmar: Cyclone Nargis Timeline

Updated On: Jul 19, 2012

Since Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar, the country has been besieged with offers of aid and assistance. While the military junta weighs the cost of letting foreigners onto their sovereign soil, the international community wrings its hands. As the clock ticks on, the SIIA keeps an eye on this developing situation.


Date Summary
06-Jun-2008 Myanmar's military regime has forced cyclone survivors to do menial labor in exchange for food and stepped up a campaign to evict displaced citizens from aid shelters, an international human rights group said Thursday (2 Jun 08)
05-Jun-2008 US Navy ships with humanitarian supplies withdrawn after being denied entry into Myanmar for three weeks. Cyclone survivors are being forcibly evicted from aid shelters, and forced to exchange menial labour for food. 
02-Jun-2008 ASEAN kicks-off the post-Nargis Joint Assessment. (ASEANsec.org, 3 Jun 08)
30-May-2008 Authorities begin evicting destitute families from government-run cyclone relief camps, apparently fearing the 'tented villages' may become permanent. (BBC, 31 May 08)
29-May-2008 Myanmar military junta approves all UN relief worker visas. (BBC, 29 May 08)
28-May-2008 Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest arbitrarily extended by the Myanmar junta (28 May 08)
27-May-2008 Junta extends house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for another year. (Guardian, 27 May 08)
26-May-2008 Disease fears loom over Myanmar.
25-May-2008 More than 50 countries pledge nearly $50 million at U.N.-organised donor conference in Yangon. (BBC, 25 May 08)
24-May-2008 Constitutional referendum held in Yangon and the delta. The junta quickly announces that the charter has passed with 92.5 percent support on a 98.1 percent turnout. New York-based Human Rights Watch said it had received indications that the referendum was conducted "in an atmosphere of official coercion and vote tampering." The military government refused international or independent referendum monitors and United Nations assistance in conducting the voting, the group said. (2 Jun 08)
23-May-2008 U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon state Myanmar's ruling junta agree to allow all foreign aid workers regardless of nationalities into the country to conduct relief efforts to help cyclone survivors. (CNN, 23 May 08)
22-May-2008 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon tours cyclone-hit areas. Junta supremo Than Shwe promises him "all" aid workers will be allowed in. (BBC, 22 May 08)
21-May-2008 Myanmar says it wants more than $11 billion in aid for victims ahead of a donor conference. (Jun 08)
20-May-2008 ASEAN Emergency Rapid Assesment Team Mission Report, "Cyclone Nargis, Myanmar", 9-18 May 2008. World Bank says it can't give financial aid as Myanmar has not been repaying its debt since 1998. Myanmar agrees to let South Asian neighbours send medical personnel and an assessment team to the country. (ASEANsec.org, 20 May 08)
19-May-2008 Three days of official mourning for the victims of Cyclone Nargis declared by Myanmar. (BBC, 19 May 08)
18-May-2008 2 Weeks after Cyclone Nargis, the country's reclusive Junta leader Than Shwe visited a refugee camp outside Yango. (Telegraph, 18 May 08)
17-May-2008 UN to press Burma on aid access. (BBC, 18 May 08)

Myanmar state television raises official toll to 77,738 dead and 55,917 missing. (Guardian, 16 May 08)

Gordon Brown states Burma "guilty of inhumane action". (BBC, 17 May 08)

U.S to bypass Junta to send aid. (CNN, 16 May 08)


U.N. raises its estimate for the number of severely affected people from 1.5 million to between 1.6-2.5 million. Top aid envoys ramp up pressure on Burma, as reports that aid is still not reaching worst hit areas prevail. (BBC, 16 May 08)

Junta denies misusing cyclone aid.

14-May-2008 UN: 2.5m estimated people dead; many more in serious danger of diarrhea and disease; most foreign aid workers barred from entering Myanmar, aid shipments encountering major delays. (BBC, 14 May 08)

Myanmar rejects U.S. offers to distribute the aid.

Government of Myanmar authorises 5 more flights to land in the country. Surin Pitsuwan meets with Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank President, in Washington. Zoellick pledged technical expertise, not loans, to the emergency response. ASEAN to assemble and send damage assessment taskforce to Myanmar. (ASEANsec.org, 13 May 08; ReliefWeb, 14 May 08)

12-May-2008 First U.S. military flight lands in Yangon. (BBC, 12 May 08)
11-May-2008 Burma ceases restrictions on aid. (BBC, 11 May 08) (www.mapreport.com/countries/cyclone_nargis.html, 05 June 08)

Myanmar holds Constitutional Referendum that it sees as key in a seven step "roadmap to democracy." Myanmar TV urges people to vote "yes" in referendum. (CNN, 10 May 08)

UNHCR enters Myanmar via Thailand with 22 tonnes of tents and other humanitarian supplies. Mounting frustration with aid delays. (BBC, 10 May 08)


UN launches US$187m appeal for aid. (UN, 9 May 08) Aid pledges: UK, $10m; UN, $10m; Japan, $10m; US, $3m; France, $3m; Australia, $2.8m.

UN pressures to speed up the issuing of visas to foreign relief experts. Dozens of aid experts waiting for visas in Thailand; the Burmese embassy there has closed for a public holiday. Myanmar articulates that it wants aid supplies, but not foreign aid workers. The junta said that it would manage the aid distribution themselves.

The World Food Programme's Paul Risley says the delays are "unprecedented in modern humanitarian relief efforts". U.N. appeals for $187 million in aid. (BBC, 9 May 08)

08-May-2008 UN issues statement: "disappointed" at the lack of access to Myanmar for relief work and aid to cyclone victims. (BBC, 8 May 08)
07-May-2008 France suggests invoking a U.N. "responsibility to protect" clause to get aid to cyclone victims without junta approval. Other countries dismiss the idea despite mounting frustration with the generals' response to the disaster.

Cyclone death toll tops 20,000. 41,000 are missing and the UN estimates more than a million people could be homeless. A Thai military plane carrying food and medicine arrives - first foreign aid. (CNA, 6 May 08)


Myanmar state TV raises the death toll to nearly 4,000. (AP, 5 May 08)

Aid efforts remain slow as the country frustrates international attempts at executing relief operations. First Lady Laura Bush criticises the junta for a slow response and urges it to accept U.S. offers of aid. (CNN, 5 May 08)

04-May-2008 Death toll estimates vary widely across various reporting agencies, but one trend remains clear: they are all rising. Foreign aid pours in, but are stymied. Calls for Myanmar to let foreign aid workers in start. (CNN, 4 May 08)
03-May-2008 Cyclone Nargis hits Myanmar's Irrawaddy region, and five regions, including Yangon, are declared disaster regions. 20,000 homes are destroyed and 100,000 made homeless by the 120 mph winds and a 12 ft sea surge. (BBC, 4 May 08)




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