Burma authorities approve single US aid aircraft

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The Independent Online

Authorities in Burma have given approval for a US military aircraft carrying relief supplies to land in the country on Monday, the White House and a US military official said today.

"An aircraft has been approved to land with relief supplies on Monday," the US military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The UN World Food Programme also announced that it is to resume aid flights to cyclone-hit Burma as further strong wind and rain is forecast for the region.

"The World Food Programme has decided to send in two relief flights as planned tomorrow, while discussions continue with the Government of Burma on the distribution of the food that was flown in today, and not released to WFP," Nancy E. Roman, WFP's communications director, said in a statement.

The UN food agency had previously said it would suspend aid flights over the seizure.

The news came as strong winds and rain were forecast to hit the region over the coming week, threatening to hamper relief efforts.

A spokesperson from the UN weather agency, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), said: "Occasional tropical rain showers are expected along with a period of heavy rainfall settling in around Thursday or Friday next week".

It said southwesterly winds may then hit the low-lying areas devastated by Cyclone Nargis, which killed nearly 23,000 people and has left as many as 1.5 million in need of housing, food and clean water.

The WMO said the weather front could "compound the situation in the coastal region by enhancing precipitation and possibly affecting run-off or surge".

"While the uncertainty of the exact timing of more significant rainfall is high, ensemble prediction systems also support the threat of a stronger rainfall episode during next week," it added.