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Volunteers send aid through Burma's (Myanmar's) back door

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Aid blocks at the front door

A few weeks after United Nations chief Ban Ki Moon won a promise from Burma's leader, Senior General Than Shwe, that the government would lift restrictions on foreign aid workers, the junta continues to impede their access.

Many have been restricted from entering Burma or, once inside, have been confined to working in Rangoon, which they need permits to leave.

In another possible hurdle, on Tuesday the government issued guidelines requiring relief workers to secure a large amount of paperwork and make repeated contacts with national and local government agencies and a committee called the Tripartite Core Group. The group includes representatives from the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Burma is a member.

The government did, however, allow 250 experts from the Tripartite Core Group to enter the Irrawaddy Delta, where the cyclone hit, on Tuesday to conduct a 10-day assessment of needs. The UN currently estimates that, of the 2.4 million people affected, more than 1 million still need regular aid.

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