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Cambodia Provides Emergency Aid to Burma

Cambodia will provide $50,000 to Burma to help the hundreds of thousands of people affected by Cyclone Nargis, officials said Wednesday.

The cyclone, which hit the Burmese coast Friday, has claimed more than 20,000 lives, and twice that number are still missing, the nation’s state radio reported. One million people have been left homeless in the worst natural disaster to hit Asia since the December 2004 tsunami, which killed 230,000.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said Wednesday he had met with the Burmese ambassador in Phnom Penh to offer the aid.

“This amount is not much, but, importantly, it shows that Cambodia’s heart, character and solidarity is with the Burmese people,” he told reporters.

Prime Minister Hun Sen was donating the money “for the sake of neighbors, friendship and the Asian family of nations,” Hor Namhong said.

UN officials say the cyclone survivors now face a lack of food, water and shelter in the Irrawaddy Delta region adjacent to the capital, Rangoon, where a quarter of Burma’s 57 million people live.

Burma’s ruling junta called the storm a “major disaster.”

“The tragedy of the Burmese people is a humanitarian disaster, for which the world must unite,” Hor Namhong said.

The international community has so far provided $21 million in aid to Burma. Britain has pledged $9.8 million, the US $3 million, the European Union $3.1 million and China $1 million in aid and $500,000 in relief. Indonesia, which was hardest hit by the 2004 tsunami, pledged $1 million. France will give about $309,000.