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UN chief tours two cyclone-hit areas in Myanmar
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Visiting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon toured two cyclone-hard-hit areas in southwestern Ayeyawaddy division's delta region Thursday, following his arrival in Yangon earlier on the day, the State TV reported in a night broadcast.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (2nd L) talks to a displaced family in their tent in Kyondah village, Myanmar May 22, 2008. Ban Ki-Moon is on a tour to view conditions in Cyclone Nargis damaged areas and to meet with Myanmar government officials. [Photo: Reuters]

Ban inspected the aid supplies put in place for distribution and met some victims in the areas of Dedaye and Mawlamyinegyun , the report said.

Before his trip to the cyclone-hit areas, Ban met with Myanmar Prime Minister General Thein Sein in Yangon with no details being officially disclosed about their meeting.

On Thursday, Thein Sein told representatives from 39 donor coun tries and 12 organizations in a briefing that Myanmar thanked these donors and expressed welcome for their aid supplies, disclosing that a total of over 2,700 tons of the supplies have been brought in by more than 130 flights.

Ban, who is on a two-day visit, is expected to meet Myanmar top leadership in Nay Pyi Taw on Friday.

Before his Myanmar trip, Ban said that his objective is "to reinforce partnership between Myanmar and the international community including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and key neighboring countries", adding that "this will be the primary focus of the May 25 pledging conference and the special task force comprising ASEAN and the UN" .

Agreed by Myanmar, an ASEAN-led coordinating mechanism, chaired by ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, has been established in accordance with the decisions made on Monday's Special Meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers in Singapore.

The move is to facilitate the effective distribution and utilization of international assistance for Myanmar cyclone victims and a pledging conference involving the U.N. is scheduled for Sun day, May 25 in Yangon to raise fun d for cyclone-affected victims.

Ban is scheduled to leave Myanmar on Friday evening for Bangkok, where he will meet Thai Prime Minister Samak Sun darvej and Foreign Minister Noppadon Saturday and be back to Yangon on Sun day to join the International Pledging Conference co-organized by the U.N. and the ASEAN.

Deadly tropical cyclone Nargis, which occurred over the Bay of Bengal, hit five divisions and states -- Ayeyawaddy, Yangon, Bago, Mon and Kayin on May 2 and 3, of which Ayeyawaddy and Yangon inflicted the heaviest casualties and massive infrastructural damage. The storm has killed 77,738 people and left 55,917 missing and 19,359 injured, according to updated death toll.

(Xinhua News Agency May 23, 2008)

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