By LALIT K JHA
WASHINGTON — The US State Department on Wednesday paid tribute to the work of the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in helping bring relief to the victims of the 2008 Cyclone Nargis.
In a statement on the eve of the first anniversary of the cyclone, State Department spokesman Robert Wood said: “This provision of assistance would not have been possible without the work of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United Nations, which have facilitated the entry of humanitarian assistance and aid workers over the past year through the Tripartite Core Group.”
The US alone has provided nearly $75 million in humanitarian assistance to the survivors of the cyclone.
“We also acknowledge the unfailing work of many non-governmental organizations that provided vital aid and assistance,” Wood said, adding the hope that the Burmese junta would continue to permit the international community to provide post-cyclone relief.
“We express our firm hope that the Burmese government will continue to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Burmese people in the affected area, and will also allow expanded access for assistance needed elsewhere in the country,” Wood said.
“As we recall the Nargis tragedy, we also express our hope for a better future for all of Burma's citizens,” he said.
The State Department statement also offered condolences to families who lost loved ones in the cyclone. “We also honor the bravery and sacrifice of the Burmese people who have worked tirelessly alongside the United States and the international community to help their neighbors attempt to rebuild their lives,” Wood said.