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Press Releases, 5/7/2008

Finland to send emergency assistance to Myanmar

Press release 148/2008
7 May, 2008

Finland responds to the urgent need of assistance caused by the Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen decided today about channelling emergency assistance amounting to EUR 300,000 to the area through the Finnish Red Cross.

The International Red Cross and the UN have started shipment and distribution of relief supplies in Myanmar. The destroyed area is hard-to-reach river delta, which makes it more difficult to deliver assistance and to assess aid needs. It was recently informed that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) was given a permit for a relief flight by the government of Myanmar, with a shipment of relief supplies from the UN central warehouse in Brindisi, Italy, to arrive to Myanmar today.

The tropical Cyclone Nargis hit the south-western coast of Myanmar on Friday, 2 May. According to the current estimates of the government of Myanmar, the number of people killed and gone missing reaches tens of thousands. The number of people in need of assistance is estimated to be at least one million.

The size of the Nargis disaster area is 30,000 square metres. National emergency has been declared for five provinces in Southern and Central Myanmar, including Yangon. The circumstances in the area are worsening rapidly. In addition to tropical diseases, such as malaria, acute lack of food and clean drinking water are a serious threat to the local population.

Additional information: Special Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ossi Martikainen, tel. +358 9 1605 6306, or Director Ulla-Maija Finskas, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +359 9 1605 6225




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Updated 5/8/2008

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