Thursday, December 20, 2007

European Commission gives aid to Burma

The European Commission on Thursday allocated another 18 million euros (26 million dollars) of its assistance program to the country.

The new aid allocation from the commission comes in the wake of a brutal crackdown on peaceful protests in Rangoon last September that has prompted the US to slap new economic sanctions on Burma's military leaders.

The EU maintains that its aid program does not assist the government but attempts to address the country's humanitarian crises.

"Recent events suggest that there is no immediate end in sight for the country's hard-pressed population," said Louis Michel, who heads the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) in Burma.

"More than ever, humanitarian aid, delivered by organisations like the International Red Cross (ICRC) and NGOs is needed to save lives, reduce suffering and protect vulnerable people," said Michel.

The main beneficiaries of Commission-supported relief programmes in Burma will be more than a million highly vulnerable rural people living in remote frontier areas, who have no access to basic social services in places such as the Sakhine, Shan, Mon and Kayin states, Sagaing and Thanintaryi divisions.

The other main target group is around 138,000 Burmese refugees living in camps in Thailand.

The European Union has been providing humanitarian aid to Burma since 1994. It has allocated more than 100 million euros to the country since 2000. dpa

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