The World Bank will provide relief to victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar through ASEAN

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I had the chance today to attend a speech by ASEAN's (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Secretary General, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, right after he had met with the Bank's President Bob Zoellick. He told us they discussed ways to increase the cooperation between the two organizations, but the most interesting and pressing aspect of it all is that they talked about specific ways in which the Bank will be helping out the victims of Cyclone Nargis through ASEAN. ASEAN had announced on May 13 that it was setting up a "Coalition of Mercy" for the Myanmar relief effort, and today Zoellick offered Bank expertise in assessing the devastation and planning for the country's recovery. The key point here is that ASEAN is the organization with best access to Myanmar right now --it has already secured entry visas for its emergency team--, so this collaboration between the Bank and ASEAN can start being effective really quickly, which is what the people of Myanmar need.


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