Ban Ki Moon’s announcement welcome but more hurdles to clear to help cyclone victims, Oxfam says

Published: 23 May 2008

Oxfam cautiously welcomed the announcement by UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon that Myanmar will increase access for aid workers, but warned that the real test will be whether help reaches those who need it.

Sarah Ireland, Oxfam’s east Asia director, said: “We welcome the government of Myanmar’s decision to allow foreign aid workers access into the cyclone hit areas. But this is only the first hurdle.

“Currently international aid workers can’t go to cyclone-affected area, local aid workers can’t move freely and the much of the aid itself is tied up in red tape. We would like to see all these restrictions lifted because it is a race against time to get aid to the people who desperately need it.

“The conference on Sunday between the government of Myanmar and the international community will prove crucial. Oxfam would like to see everyone get behind the ASEAN plan – which must then be followed by genuine efforts to relieve the suffering on the ground.”

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