VARIOUS: Myanmar cyclone toll climbs to nearly 22,500 with 41,000 missing as international commmunity pledges aid
- Title: VARIOUS: Myanmar cyclone toll climbs to nearly 22,500 with 41,000 missing as international commmunity pledges aid
- Date: 6th May 2008
- Summary: (BN10) PARIS, FRANCE (MAY 6, 2008) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRY BERNARD KOUCHNER, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER ARRIVING AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (French) BERNARD KOUCHNER, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER, SAYING: "Burma has apparently accepted international aid as long as they it distribute themselves. But we are not confident about the way they would distribute it and the international community isn't trusting this. So they have not accepted direct aid, nor have they accepted the personnel we offered." VARIOUS KOUCHNER SPEAKING AND JOURNALISTS LISTENING AT NEWS CONFERENCE
- Reuters ID: LVA84R8M6PN6X8UBTVQLDEO0DH1K
- Duration: 00:00:53
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- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
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- Story Text: International aid pledges worth 10 million U.S. dollars were made on Tuesday (May 6) as the death toll as a result of a cyclone and ensuing storm surge in Myanmar climbed.
Myanmar state media said the death toll had risen to 22,464 and 41,000 people were missing after the cyclone hit the country's Irrawaddy delta and triggered a tidal wave reported to have been 12 feet (3.5 metres) high.
Myanmar' s Minister for Relief and Resettlement Maung Maung Swe said the tidal wave had killed most of the cyclone's victims.
The European Commission will provide a two million euro aid package in response.
Commission spokesman for the Humanitarian Aid office Amadeu Altafaj told reporters in Brussels the initial funding would concentrate of providing clean water and that the organisation expected to hand out more aid later.
"The most urgent need appears to be for shelter and clean water and these areas will be of course priorities for this package," Altafaj said.
Myanmar's military rulers are allowing in food and other emergency supplies but have not yet approved visas for some aid workers seeking to assess the damage from a massive cyclone, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
In Paris, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner expressed concerns that the Myanmar authorities wanted to deliver the aid to the cyclone victims.
"Burma has apparently accepted international aid but as long as they distribute themselves. But we are not confident in the way they would distribute it and the international community does not trust this. So they have not accepted direct aid, nor have they accepted the personnel we offered."
China will provide relief aid worth one million U.S. dollars to cyclone-hit Myanmar, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Tuesday (May 6).
"The Chinese government will provide its first batch of aid, worth one million U.S. dollars, to the Burmese government, including cash and materials," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference in Beijing.
Chinese aid will be divided into 500,000 U.S. dollars worth in cash and materials including tents, blankets and biscuits worth a further 500,000 U.S dollars, the commerce ministry said.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Britain would work with the whole international community "to make sure that the food aid and the other support that is necessary is available to the people of Burma."
He was speaking at a business conference in London.
Myanmar's government said 5 billion kyats (4.5 million U.S. dollars) had been set aside in disaster aid.
United Nations aid officials estimate that hundreds of thousands of people have been left homeless by the 190 km (120 miles) per hour winds and storm surge.
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