Britain's prime minister has accused authorities in Myanmar of behaving inhumanely by preventing foreign aid from reaching victims of a devastating cyclone.
A natural disaster "is being made into a man-made catastrophe by the negligence, the neglect and the inhuman treatment of the Burmese people by a regime that is failing to act and to allow the international community to do what it wants to do," Gordon Brown told the British Broadcasting Corp.
In the BBC World Service interview broadcast today, Brown said authorities in Myanmar, also known as Burma, must be held to account for their actions.
The United Nations says 2.5 million people have been made homeless in the southeast Asian country. Authorities there say 78,000 people have died and 56,000 are missing. Aid groups say the death toll is probably about 128,000, with many more deaths possible from disease and starvation unless help is provided quickly.
Despite possessing little means to deliver aid quickly and efficiently, Myanmar's isolationist government insists it does not want international aid groups to manage relief operations, and has prevented foreign aid workers from travelling to the cyclone-hit Irrawaddy delta.
Members of Britain's political opposition have called for aid to be air-dropped into the affected region. Brown said air drops had not been ruled out, but that aid groups felt they would be counterproductive.