YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar's junta, facing global outrage for spurning international assistance, appeared to relent Monday, saying it would allow its Asian neighbors to oversee the distribution of foreign relief to cyclone survivors.
It also approved a visit by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and prepared to host a meeting of aid donors, while claiming that losses from the May 2-3 disaster exceeded $10-billion.
A three-day official period of mourning was to begin today for the dead, which numbered more than 78,000, according to official figures. An additional 56,000 people are missing.
Conditions, especially in the hard-hit Irrawaddy Delta, remain precarious for survivors, who face disease, malnutrition and exposure to the elements.
Heavy rain fell again Monday, said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, noting that such weather can have the benefit of providing clean water for those able to catch the downpour with plastic sheeting.
"However, the rain for many others simply adds to the misery as they look forward to their 18th night in often wretched conditions," the agency said. "In addition, access to already relatively inaccessible locations is set to remain very difficult."
Myanmar, responding to entreaties from its Southeast Asia neighbors, promised Monday that it would let them into the cyclone-devastated areas to oversee and help distribute foreign assistance.
But the United Nations said the rest of its foreign staff were still barred from the delta and it described conditions there as "terrible," with hundreds of thousands of cyclone victims suffering from hunger, disease and lack of shelter.