Doubts About Burma Aid Stymie German Fundraising Efforts | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 14.05.2008
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Doubts About Burma Aid Stymie German Fundraising Efforts

Germans have been reluctant to donate money to the Myanmar relief operation because they fear it might not reach the victims, aid organizations were quoted as saying on Wednesday, May 14.

Soldiers from Burma unload water from a US Air Force plane

Some foreign aid is making it to Burma

One aid group, Caritas International, had received only 100,000 euros ($150,000) in donations -- a sum "that bears no relation" to the scope of the disaster, Caritas spokesman Achim Reinke told Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.

"It's barely enough to pay for 1,500 tents," he said, pointing out that the rainy season was about to begin and 50,000 people were in urgent need of assistance.

The military leaders that run the country have refused to grant visas to scores of key foreign aid experts.

Nearly two weeks ago, Cyclone Nargis struck Burma, killing more than 34,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless. Meteorologists on Wednesday predicted good chances that a second cyclone hit the region and wrecking even more damage.

Donations being "put to good use"

Relief workers said there was a delay in deliveries of vital supplies of food, water, shelter and medicine to an estimated 1.9 million people hard-hit by the storm.

The German government is doubling its emergency aid for victims of the calamity to 4 million euros.

Doctors Without Borders, another relief group, said Germans had donated far less than during the Asian tsunami disaster in December 2004. The Red Cross said it had received 280,000 euros in donations.

But the aid groups told the newspaper that the donations they have received are being put to good use and that German relief workers have already begun working in Burma.

"Caritas workers were able to recover bodies, buy water and provide blankets and food for survivors," Reinke said.

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