New smaller Belgian aid team for Myanmar
The original 23-team has been scaled down to six as Burmese authorities said it is impossible to grant access to so many people.27 May 2008
BELGIUM - A new Belgian aid team is flying out to Myanmar to help victims of the recent cyclone.
The team is headed by the Belgian disaster aid expert Dr Luc Beaucourt.
The team is smaller than originally planned, but this is because the Burmese authorities informed the organisers on Monday that only six aid workers would be let into the country.
Earlier the Burmese had given permission for 23 aid workers to go to Burma. The local authorities now say that it's impossible to give such a large group of people access to the disaster zone at this minute.
Dr Beaucourt told the VRT that the team included three accident and emergency doctors, two nurses and one support staff member.
The Burmese embassy has assured the Belgians that they will be able to work in the disaster zone.
Dr Beaucourt is disappointed that his team is now smaller than initially planned: "I had brought together 23 highly motivated people who were prepared to work very hard".
On Wednesday the Belgian team will be received by the Burmese Health Minister.
They will then travel to the Irrawaddy Delta, where the cyclone claimed most victims.
Dr Beaucourt says: "I'm convinced we will be working on a clearly defined project."
Other members of the initial team will probably be able to travel to Burma at a later stage. Greater support is expected around 15 June.
Flemish Premier Kris Peeters was there to see off the Belgian team. He told the team: "You are ambassadors of Flanders, a region that isn't as closed as some people claim."
Dr Beaucourt also thanked everybody who made donations for the cyclone victims. So far EUR 140,000 has been raised.
[flandersnews.be / Expatica]