Full access for Asean aid teams in Myanmar: Surin

Asean seems to have exceeded expectations somewhat in getting co-operation from the Myanmar govenrment. As this report in Today indicates, aid teams from Asean countries have been promosed full access to affected areas. While very late – it is already 6 weeks after the cyclone hit – it is better than never.

13 June 2008

Full access for Asean aid teams in Myanmar: Surin

Aid teams from the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) will have full access to all the areas in Myanmar devastated by Cyclone Nargis, said the group’s Secretary-General, Dr Surin Pitsuwan.

Relief workers moved into Myanmar late last month after the military government eased restrictions on access and asked fellow Asean nations to coordinate the international aid effort. Asean is working under a tripartite arrangement with the United Nations and the junta.

The Asean aid teams will prepare a report on the situation to be discussed at a roundtable meeting later this month. The meeting will be attended by other countries that have experienced similar tragedies, such as Indonesia, Pakistan and China.

“We have been given full cooperation and support by the Myanmar authorities. We now have some250 post-Nargis assessment teams in the delta in the Yangon division in the south with full access to all areas of the affected regions,” said Dr Surin.

“It’s a great achievement and we will try to maintain that momentum. We have no reason to doubt that we will not be able to do the job adequately and come up with a credible report that will be taken up by all parties for rehabilitation and reconstruction purposes later.”

Meanwhile, the UN yeserday said it has received less than half the money it needs for cyclone relief efforts, with some nations delaying because of concerns about the junta’s restrictions on foreign aid workers.

The UN said it had a goal of US$201.6 million :($278 million) but has received only US$113.2 million from government donors. And US$51 million more in pledges has not yet been delivered. — Channel NewsAsia

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