SINGAPORE, May 31 (UPI) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Myanmar officials have obstructed cyclone relief efforts, causing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.
Gates said the United States has been prepared for some time to send relief boats and planes to the ravaged country after Cyclone Nargis tore through it May 2, the BBC reported.
He said the country has rejected attempts by foreigners to enter the nation.
"Many other countries besides the United States also have felt hindered in their efforts. Despite these obstructions, we continue to get help into Burma (which the ruling regime calls Myanmar), and remain poised to provide more," Gates said at a security meeting in Singapore.
About 2.4 million people have no place to live and little to eat as a result of the natural disaster.
There have been at least 78,000 deaths in Myanmar because of the cyclone, and at least 56,000 people have not been found, the report said.