Finland Prepared To Assist Myanmar

According to the recent data of the official sources of Myanmar, the number of people killed by or missing as a result of the Cyclone Nargis that ravaged Myanmar on the weekend of 3-4 May is already counted in tens of thousands. There are 24 million people living in the disaster area in Myanmar, many of whom are in need of assistance, says Lars Backström, Finland’s Ambassador to Thailand.
Finland does not have an embassy in Myanmar and that is why the affairs of the country are handled from the Finnish Embassy in Bangkok. After the cyclone, the Finnish Embassy has been in close contact with both the authorities of Myanmar and other EU member states and the European Commission.
According to Ambassador Backström, post-crisis treatment of the damage caused by the cyclone will require substantial amounts of money. The disaster-assessment team of UN humanitarian aid agencies is currently negotiating about a rescue operation with the authorities of Myanmar. The team is currently in Bangkok. Finland is prepared to provide rapid financial assistance to Myanmar.
So far, Myanmar has not granted a visa to the Finnish Ambassador so that he could travel to the country. According to Ambassador Backström’s current information, there is still one Finn living permanently in Myanmar and one independent backpacker that the Embassy has failed to reach in spite of continuous attempts. This is due to the extremely bad telephone connections. On the other hand, seven other Finns in Myanmar have been reached and they are all right.
Additional information: Finland’s Ambassador to Thailand Lars Backström, gsm + 66 817 206 930, and Director Ulla-Maija Finskas, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +359 9 1605 6225


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