WASHINGTON, May 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Navy ships are standing by off Thailand awaiting permission to join relief efforts in cyclone-hit Myanmar, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
"But that's all we can do at this point, is to plan, because we have not received a request from the Burmese (Myanmar's) government," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said.
The U.S. Navy ships that are ready to leave for Myanmar include the USS Essex, an amphibious assault ship that carries 23 helicopters, three landing craft, and a contingent of 1,800 marines, the Pentagon said.
The nearest U.S. navy ships to Myanmar were reportedly a four-and-a-half-day sail away taking part in an exercise in waters in the Gulf of Thailand.
U.S. President George W. Bush made an appeal to Myanmar's government on Tuesday to accept U.S. disaster teams, saying Washington was ready to help more after a devastating cyclone.
"The United States has made an initial aid contribution but we want to do a lot more," Bush told reporters at the White House.
Also on Tuesday, the Bush administration is offering three million U.S. dollars, up from an initial emergency contribution of250,000 dollars, in aide for cyclone-hit Myanmar.
"We urge the government of Burma to grant full access to the affected areas to international humanitarian relief teams and non-governmental organizations," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
Tropical cyclone Nargis, which developed over the Bay of Bengal, ripped through Myanmar's five divisions and states, leaving at least 22,500 people dead and more than 41,000 missing.
The United States has long imposed a trade and investment ban on Myanmar, accusing the government of "poor human rights records."