Finland’s Ambassador to Thailand travels to Myanmar

Finland’s Ambassador to Thailand Lars Backström has been granted a visa to Myanmar. The visa will enter into force on Sunday 11 May.
Ambassador Backström will fly from Bangkok to Yangon on Sunday 11 May and get acquainted with the situation in the area destroyed by Cyclone Nargis. Backström will also participate in co-ordination meetings of aid operations and meet representatives of relief organisations as well as other ambassadors. The Ambassador will return to Bangkok late at night on Monday 12 May (Thailand time).
Finland’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen has decided to channel emergency assistance amounting to EUR 300,000 to the area through the Finnish Red Cross to Myanmar.
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.

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