The Burma Air Road

The first of three planned Air Force C-130 flights with supplies to aid the Burmese survivors of Tropical Cyclone Nagris arrived at Yangon International Airport in Rangoon May 12. The aircraft, which flew in from Utapao Thai Royal Navy Air Base, Thailand, carried 8,300 bottles of water, blankets, and mosquito nets, according to a US Pacific Command statement. Navy. Adm. Timothy J. Keating, PACOM commander, flew in with the C-130 and was greeted by a Burmese naval official upon landing. He later returned with the C-130 to Thailand. Two more C-130s are scheduled to land today (May 13) in Burma as part of the US Agency for International Development’s disaster relief that has been approved by the ruling Burmese military junta. The US, along with members of the international community, has been pressing the Burmese government to allow in foreign relief workers and more aid to stave off a catastrophic loss of life due to disease and lack of food and water after the cyclone, which itself claimed many thousands of lives. The Air Force has six C-130s already in Utapao and Korat, Thailand, that are available if called upon as part of the overall portfolio of US military capability poised to assist, the Department of Defense said in a separate statement. Some of these US assets were already in Thailand to participate in the Cobra Gold humanitarian-assistance exercise. USAF has also moved members of its Guam-based 36th Contingency Response Group to Utapao, according to a May 12 release from Andersen Air Force Base on the island. They brought with them a water purification unit and are trained to set up and maintain airfields and communications hubs in crisis areas.