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UN chief calls new meeting on aiding Myanmar
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09:13, May 15, 2008

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he has invited some ambassadors, representatives of members of the world body to discuss helping Myanmar's cyclone disaster relief Wednesday afternoon.

"I have invited some ambassadors, representatives of the member states, to discuss all the options, how we can go ahead," Ban told reporters. "Until now, regrettably, I think we have spent much of our time and energy in facilitating aid, getting food in, and visas being issued."

The UN chief said he would discuss the matter with some members of the key donors and members of the Association of South-east Asian Nations on "what kind of concrete measures we can do from now on."

"Even though the Myanmar government has shown some sense of flexibility, at this time, it's far, far too short," Ban said. "The magnitude of this situation requires much more mobilization of resources and aid workers."

He said efforts would be made to "make a small, a brief, statement" after the scheduled meeting.

On Monday, Ban voiced frustration at the slow pace of relief efforts in the wake of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, calling for accelerated efforts to get more aid into the country.

"I want to register my deep concern -- and immense frustration -- at the unacceptably slow response to this grave humanitarian crisis," Ban told a press conference.

"Unless more aid gets into the country -- very quickly -- we face an outbreak of infectious diseases that could dwarf today's crisis," he said.

International relief agencies estimate that around 1.5 million people are at severe risk following Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar on May 2, while the official death toll reported by the government has reached almost 32,000, with over 34,000 others missing.


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