Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Myanmar reiterates need to go through procedures for foreign relief donation


YANGON, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar has reiterated the need to go through designated procedures for relief donations by resident United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organizations (INGO) continuously pouring in the country after cyclone disaster.

"These organizations need to inform the subcommittees of natural disaster preparedness committees at different levels under the National Disaster Preparedness Central Committee so that the committees can make arrangements for distribution of the supplies to the storm-hit areas," Tuesday's state newspaper New Light of Myanmar quoted Minister of National Planning and Economic Development U Soe Tha as advising in addition to a prior announcement of the central committee for the requisition.

The report cited some allegations that such relief supplies, donated by these agencies and organizations, were directly sent to the storm-hit areas.

The authorities called for such cooperation with the government, asking these organizations to inform the central committee of their donations and the places they delivered the supplies and contact township level of the committee.

Meanwhile, the authorities have warned against relief aid embezzlement, saying that people who trade, hoard or misuse the international aid for cyclone survivors will be taken legal action.

There were local reports about diversions of such aid or open sale in markets over the past week.

Myanmar outlined a cyclone-relief policy of welcoming aid supplies from any country but at first denying entry for foreign aid workers to help launch rescue and relief operations, saying that it prefers to use its own strength.

Allowed by the Myanmar government later, four foreign medics respectively from neighboring Thailand, India, China and Laos have flown in Myanmar since the past weekend to render direct emergency medical aid to the country's cyclone victims. Each of the teams comprises dozens of doctors and medical staff.

These medical aid groups are now stationing in some storm-hit areas for carrying out relief works with the Thai medics and Mekong healthcare team in Laputta and Myaungmya townships, Indian group in Bogalay and Phyapon, and Chinese group in Kungyangon so far.

In addition, the authorities claimed that a total of 122 domestic medical teams with altogether over 2,000 members have been serving in the disaster-stricken areas.

In the latest development, Myanmar has agreed at a just-ended special meeting in Singapore to let the Association of Southeast Asian Nations coordinate foreign assistance for cyclone victims and accept medical teams and relief workers from all ASEAN member countries to join in.

An ASEAN-UN International Pleding Conference is to be held in Yangon on May 25 dealing with relief aid for Myanmar cyclone victims, the meeting announced.

Meanwhile, Myanmar also announced that the government has increased spending of up to over 50 billion Kyats (over 45.45 million dollars) for relief use from 20 billion Kyats last allotted.
Editor: Du Guodong

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