UN Blasts Myanmar for Visa Policy on Aid Workers

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, people walk past fallen trees at a street in Myanmar's biggest city Yangon Saturday, May 3, 2008. Tropical Cyclone Nargis ripped through Yangon early Saturday, tearing off roofs, uprooting trees and knocking out electricity. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhang Yunfei)
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Yangon, Myanmar (AP) The United Nations is blasting Myanmar's military rulers for refusing to let foreign aid workers into the country to help cyclone survivors.

The regime says it's grateful to the international community for its assistance. But it says the best way to help is just to send material, not personnel. The junta says it turned back one reliec flight yesterday after it landed in Yangon because there were a search-and-rescue team and reporters on board who hadn't received permission to enter the country.

State-media in Myanmar put the number of dead from last weekend's cyclone at just under 23,000, with another 42,000 missing.

The U.N. Calls the “frustration” caused by the delay “unprecedented in modern humanitarian relief efforts.”

U.S. Military aircraft packed with emergency aid are standing by in neighboring Thailand, frustrated at not being cleared to go in.