French warship carrying aid now off coast of Myanmar

May 17th, 2008 - 9:55 pm ICT by admin  

Paris, May 17 (DPA) A French warship carrying 1,000 tonnes of aid for cyclone victims in Myanmar is off the south coast of the devastated Irrawaddy delta, the French Defence Ministry said in Paris Saturday. Negotiations were under way with the authorities in Myanmar on whether and how the aid aboard the Mistral would be brought ashore.

The aid includes food for 100,000 people for 15 days and emergency accommodation for 60,000 people.

The French move was denounced by Myanmar Friday before the UN General Assembly in New York, which charged that the French were sending a warship.

Official estimates say that Cyclone Nargis killed almost 78,000 people when it struck Myanmar two weeks ago. Aid agencies have said the toll could rise to 130,000.

The country’s military regime has been blocking access by a larger number of international aid workers and insists that material aid be delivered to the government for redistribution.

A French attempt to have a UN resolution passed calling for the forceful delivery of aid failed due to opposition from China.

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