Minister welcomes increased access for international aid for Burma/Myanmar and announces humanitarian supplies for China. Tents and blankets to be dispatched to China relief effort
The new Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power TD, has welcomed the news that Burma/Myanmar has agreed to allow more aid into the country through regional personnel and organisations. However, the Minister reiterated that full, unfettered access for humanitarian workers and supplies, is what is needed.
He said “While I welcome this development, it is long overdue in respect of this unfolding humanitarian disaster. It is 17 days since the cyclone struck and we should not still be talking about limited access. Ireland was one of the first countries to respond to this emergency. We have provided humanitarian supplies from our special emergency stockpile - those supplies have already been airlifted to Burma and are now being distributed to those in need. We have also ring-fenced €1million for our NGO partners as an initial response to this crisis.”
Commenting on the recent earthquake in China, Minister Power announced that in addition to Ireland’s pledge of €1 million for the Chinese Red Cross, Ireland would be providing humanitarian supplies from its stockpiles in a special airlift for the City of Chengdu – one of the worst affected areas in Sichuan Province.
“In response to a request from the Chinese Government I am pleased to announce that the Government will be sending tents and blankets from our humanitarian stockpiles in Brindisi, Italy. Theses stocks are being airlifted with similar stocks of relief supplies held by Norway, Malta and Austria in a joint U.N. / E.U relief effort.
These supplies will be put to immediate use by people who have lost their homes and are in desperate need of shelter.”
Note for Editors:
At a meeting of regional foreign ministers in Singapore on Monday, Burma/Myanmar promised to accept significantly more international aid to help cyclone victims. However, it told the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit on Monday that it wanted the aid channelled through regional personnel and organisations, rather than Western agencies.
Ireland’s €1 million for the Red Cross Society of China will be channelled through the International Federation of the Red Cross international appeal. Ireland is already a major supporter of the emergency funds of the UN (Central Emergency Response Fund - CERF) and of the Red Cross (Disaster Relief Emergency Fund – DREF) both of which have already distributed significant funds for relief in the immediate aftermath of the disaster
In addition Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative can provide Emergency Stocks of Relief Goods (non food items such as tents, kitchen sets, plastic sheeting, jerry cans etc) currently being held in the UN Depot in Brindisi, Italy, and in the Curragh Camp here in Ireland, and has a reserve of volunteer experts available in such fields as logistics, telecommunications, and public information. These volunteers stand ready for deployment to help in any sudden on-set emergency of this kind with our partners – the UN World Food Programme (WFP) the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
The Rapid Response Initiative has already sent volunteers to
humanitarian crises in countries including Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya,
Sri Lanka and Nepal. Humanitarian supplies have been dispatched to
earlier emergencies in places such as Peru, Sudan, Mozambique,
Pakistan, Mali and Uganda.