US offers $55 million in aid to Thailand, Myanmar
US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told the press on Thursday that US$55 million (1.83 billion baht) has been earmarked for humanitarian and pandemic response efforts in Thailand and Myanmar.
“President [Joe] Biden has made clear that we are putting our alliances at the centre of our foreign policy. And so, I also felt it was important to come here to Thailand, to reaffirm and strengthen the longstanding alliance between our nations, and to underscore our enduring commitment to Southeast Asia and the Asean centrality,” the envoy said.
She added that she had met Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and “communicated America’s strong commitment to standing with the Thai people in the fight against Covid-19.
“We are stepping up that commitment with another 1 million vaccine doses [in addition to the 1.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccine donated by the US government previously], which will arrive soon.”
Thomas-Greenfield also said: “The coup in Myanmar and the resulting humanitarian crisis has been compounded by Covid, and Thailand is on the front lines of the response to both challenges.”
She added that the funding will support the pandemic response and alleviate Thailand’s burden. Of the $55 million, $5 million will be added to Thailand’s battle against Covid-19, while the remainder will flow in through international and non-governmental organisation partners.
“This aid will provide life-saving food, water, shelter, healthcare and hygiene services to vulnerable people from Myanmar, including refugees and internally displaced persons,” she clarified.
She added that she has met with international organisations, NGOs and other agencies working in Thailand and Myanmar to discuss the political and humanitarian challenges facing the people of Myanmar.
“I wanted them to know that we stand with them. The resources we are providing will help these NGOs and international organisations respond to the COVID crisis and meet the needs of vulnerable people, particularly in the Thai-Myanmar border region” she said, adding that “the United States remains deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in Myanmar”.