Thursday, December 18, 2008

EU provides extra 40 million euros in aid to Myanmar

BRUSSELS (AFP) — The European Commission on Thursday decided give an extra 40.5 million euros (58.7 million dollars) in aid for two million vulnerable people in Myanmar, notably those affected by cyclone Nargis in May.

A total of 22 million euros is allocated to help cyclone-hit communities in and around the southwest Irrawaddy delta, where the catastrophe left 138,000 people dead or missing and devastated rice paddies, a commission statement said.

The money is added to the 17 million euros which was released as emergency aid after the cyclone struck.

A second aid envelope of 18.5 million euros will be provided for a programme targeting "other highly vulnerable populations inside Myanmar, as well Burmese refugees in Thailand".

Around two million people are expected to benefit directly from this support which will be managed by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) and channelled through European NGOs, United Nations agencies and the Red Cross.

"We have progressively developed a very good cooperation with the authorities on humanitarian access in the Irrawaddy Delta in the wake of the cyclone Nargis," said EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel.

The EU's executive will continue advocating for similar cooperation and access to other parts of the country, he added.

"I am particularly concerned about the forgotten crisis in Northern Rakhine State, where some 800,000 Muslim Rohingya live in terrible conditions."

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