The Federal Foreign Office is providing German aid organizations with 500,000 euro as humanitarian assistance to help the people in Myanmar. The devastating cyclone Nargis is estimated to have claimed the lives of thousands and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Commenting on this, Federal Foreign Minister Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (5 May):
"Cyclone Nargis is a further cruel stroke of fate for the long-suffering people of Myanmar. Our heartfelt sympathy extends to the families of the many victims and we wish the injured a speedy and complete recovery.
Above all the many thousands of homeless and injured people urgently need our help. I call upon the military government in Myanmar to open the way for an effective aid operation and to cooperate with the international aid agencies for the sake of the needy population.
German aid is ready and waiting. Together with German aid agencies and our international partners, we are currently looking at where we can best help."
The government of Myanmar has asked the international community for support. To meet the most pressing needs, the Federal Foreign Office is making 500,000 euro available for shelters, drinking water, household goods and mosquito nets. After the tsunami in 2004, however, the military government refused to accept international assistance.
Together with its partners, the Federal Government is also continuing its work to promote human rights in Myanmar and is pressing the military government to take steps to further national reconciliation. Due to the critical human rights situation persisting in the country, the European Union has imposed sanctions on Myanmar.