ASEAN to provide assistance to earthquake-hit Myanmar

13:54, March 29, 2011      

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Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) expressed condolences to Myanmar following Thursday's major earthquake and said it stands ready to provide assistance, ASEAN Secretariat said here Monday.

The Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, extended the region's condolence and support in person through the Permanent Representative of Myanmar to ASEAN, U Nyan Lynn, when the two met at the ASEAN Secretariat on Monday afternoon.

"I have been encouraged by the numerous calls, emails and text messages from the other Permanent Representatives to ASEAN," Ambassador Lynn said on the sidelines of the meeting. "I thank everyone for their concern and appreciate the offers of assistance, " he added.

ASEAN member states, along with Indonesia as the current ASEAN chair, have issued statements of condolences to Myanmar as well as offered assistance.

"The government of Myanmar was able to act quickly, having deployed the National Disaster Preparedness Central Committee within 24 hours and relief items including shelters, sanitation, food, medicine kits, blankets and clothes for the victims by the weekend," said Dr Surin.

"Nonetheless, we will continue to be on standby to support Myanmar with any help it may need in the days and weeks ahead," he added.

At the meeting, Ambassador Lynn also informed Dr Surin that 74 deaths and 120 injuries have been recorded so far. The earthquake has also left 390 homes, 10 governmental buildings and 26 religious buildings damaged. Tremors, meanwhile, were reportedly felt as far away as Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in May 2008, leaving approximately 140,000 people dead and missing. In October 2010, Cyclone Giri left 104,000 people homeless in the country.

Source: Xinhua

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