Relief groups tackle two Asian disasters

Scott Tong May 13, 2008
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Relief groups tackle two Asian disasters

Scott Tong May 13, 2008
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Renita Jablonski: The world aid community is trying to figure out how to spend resources between two catastrophic disasters in Asia. Groups say there’s enough to go around between China and Myanmar, so long as the receiving countries cooperate. Marketplace’s Scott Tong has more.


Scott Tong: Saving lives is an ongoing negotiation for Dean Hirsch, president of World Vision International. His group finally has Myanmar’s blessing to fly in relief supplies. And the ruling junta agreed to Hirsch’s key condition: that local World Vision staffers hand the stuff out.

Dean Hirsch: We don’t want to just turn our relief supplies over to the military, because we want to make sure that the relief supplies get to those people who need them.

Myanmar ranks as the world’s most corrupt country, according to the nonprofit Transparency International. World Vision’s next hurdle: to get more aid into Myanmar. Aid groups say it’s needed, but not guaranteed.

Hirsch: Obviously, if the government of Myanmar does not agree to fly any more relief supplies in, then I would say we will divert the relief supplies that are ready to get them into China to help the people in China.

Today, Beijing said it will accept money and supplies from donor nations. But there’s a familiar catch: China is not allowing foreign aid workers in either. Not just yet.

In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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