Myanmar's military regime allowed the U.N. humanitarian chief into the Irrawaddy delta for a brief tour on Monday, a U.N. official said, but the junta will not allow uncontrolled access to Western relief workers.
Until now, Myanmar's rulers have allowed very few foreign aid workers into the country, although up to 2.5 million of the country's people are suffering as a result of Cyclone Nargis, which hit on May 2.
ASEAN foreign ministers held the emergency meeting in Singapore to try to break the impasse over the military government's refusal to allow foreign disaster experts into the Irrawaddy Delta, the area worst hit by the cyclone.
'Crimes against Humanity'
Meanwhile, aid workers with Operation Blessing International said its teams on the ground were barred from the delta region. They described conditions there as "a crime against humanity." Hundreds of thousands of cyclone victims are still suffering from hunger, disease, and lack of shelter.
"The communities we were reaching were devastated. Many of the children were already sick with diarrhea and needed medicine. We told them we would be back the following day with more supplies. But the next day, as we headed back toward to Delta region, we were stopped at a military checkpoint and told to turn around," an OBI aid worker said.
"By closing access to the delta region that day, the milDtary rulers committed a horrific violation of human rights that has been ongoing every day since. In my opinion, the formation of that roadblock was a crime against humanity," the aid worker added.
Now, European Union nations have warned the junta could be committing a crime against humanity by blocking aid intended for up to 2.5 million survivors.
But the recent development is seen as a sign that the generals might be listening to the criticism.
In other developments, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is expected to visit on Wednesday and an international donor conference will be held in Yangon on Sunday.
The diplomats did not say which countries received invitations.
At least 78,000 people were killed in the May 2-3 storm and another 56,000 were missing.
Source: The Associated Press, BBC, Operation Blessing International, CBN News