Aid pledges now pour in as the death toll from a cyclone that hit Myanmar reached 22,000. The U.S. upped its earlier promise of USD250,000 by USD3 million. “The United States has made an initial aid contribution but we want to do a lot more,” U.S. President George W. Bush said. “We’re prepared to move U.S. Navy assets to help find those who have lost their lives, to help find the missing, to help stabilize the situation. But in order to do so, the military junta must allow our disaster assessment teams into the country.” Despite the catastrophe, Burmese authorities remain reluctant to ease restrictions on aid workers. Australia, meanwhile, promised USD2.8 million and hinted at giving more in the future. “This is a terrible disaster and tragedy and so we’ve made an immediate and urgent response,” Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith stated. “I don’t want to be making comparisons, but it does compare favorably. The European Union for example has made a contribution equivalent to USD3.5 million. We are looking at what more, if any, we can do.” Britain made the largest commitment so far with nearly USD10 million, which it will channel through the United Nations and various relief groups. Norway added another USD1.95 million to the contributions.
Australia pledges AUD3m for Burma (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)
US increases cyclone aid for Myanmar (The Associated Press)
Brown pledges food aid for Myanmar (Agence France-Presse)
Norway provides emergency aid to cyclone-hit Myanmar (Xinhua)