Burma regime ‘scandalous’, says minister

The Burmese authorities’ refusal to allow foreign aid organisations to help survivors of the cyclone which killed some 25,000 people, is ‘scandalous’, foreign minister Maxime Verhagen said on Tuesday evening.

The Dutch cabinet has set aside €1m for emergency help and is putting as much pressure as possible on the regime to allow foreign aid workers in, Verhagen told a tv show.
The money will not go to the Burmese government but to the UN and Red Cross, aid minister Bert Koenders said.
‘Money is not the problem, it is about getting into the country,’ Koenders told NOS tv earlier.
In the meantime, Dutch aid groups have opened the traditional 555 bank account for contributions from the public. ‘The priority is getting clean water, food, drugs and mosquito nets to prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases,’ the charities said.
According to the foreign affairs minister, there are only a handful of Dutch nationals in the country. Because the Netherlands has no official recognition in the country, the Dutch embassy in Bangkok is trying to collate information about them.

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