On May 2, 2008, Cyclone Nargis struck Burma, devastating much of the Irrawaddy Delta, wiping out entire villages, and leaving at least 138,000 people dead or missing. As we near the first anniversary, we remember those who died and offer our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones. We also honor the bravery and sacrifice of the Burmese people who have worked tirelessly alongside the United States and the international community to help their neighbors attempt to rebuild their lives.
Since the storm, the United States has provided nearly $75 million in humanitarian assistance to the people of Burma. This provision of assistance would not have been possible without the work of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United Nations, which have facilitated the entry of humanitarian assistance and aid workers over the past year through the Tripartite Core Group. We also acknowledge the unfailing work of many non-governmental organizations that provided vital aid and assistance. We express our firm hope that the Burmese government will continue to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Burmese people in the affected area, and will also allow expanded access for assistance needed elsewhere in the country.
As we recall the Nargis tragedy, we also express our hope for a better future for all of Burma's citizens.