Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today on the floor of the U.S. Senate regarding the tragedy in Myanmar, urging the junta to allow aid in for the 1.5 million in desperate need. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Over the past several days, we have seen a horrific tragedy unfold in Burma, also known as Myanmar. The official death toll from the cyclone has now surpassed 28,000, with more than 33,000 reported missing.
“But international aid organizations fear that we are still in the beginning stages of this catastrophe. It is estimated that 1.5 million people remain in desperate need of help. Without international aid and expertise, many of these men, women and children may lose their lives to starvation, dehydration and disease.
“The relationship between the Burmese regime and the global community is certainly complicated. But in this hour of staggering desperation, the junta must put politics aside and accept the outstretched hand the world extends. One American plane has been allowed into the country, and that is a start. But it will take far, far more than one plane.
“The junta must allow in more supplies, provide visas to aid workers from around the world, and allow those workers access to regions and communities that are suffering. Senator McConnell and I join together this morning to say to the junta: let the world in. Let us help.”