France readies two naval ships for Myanmar

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Two ships are waiting for Myanmar’s military regime to give the green light to provide humanitarian aid to victims of Cyclone Nargis.

8 May 2008

PARIS - French Defence Minister Herve Morin has ordered two French naval ships to be ready to go to Myanmar to deliver humanitarian aid in the wake of a devastating cyclone, defence ministry sources said Wednesday.

Both vessels are currently taking part in humanitarian exercises with the Indian navy, the sources said.

If a green light is given by Myanmar's military regime, the ships would promptly break away from the exercises and deliver large quantities of drinking water to cyclone victims, they added.

The French navy vessels are the "Mistral" command ship, and a frigate, the "Duplex."

Both ships are around 36 hours sailing-time away from the Myanmar coast, but would be able to load up 1.5 million cubic metres of bottled water and deliver it along the
Myanmar coast by smaller amphibian supply boats, according to the ministry sources.

The most recent death toll for the Nargis cyclone is 22,980, with 42,119 missing, but a US diplomat in the country said Wednesday the toll could exceed 100,000.

[AFP / Expatica]

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