Statement from U.S. Ambassador Thomas L. Vajda
On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, I extend sincerest condolences for the lives of the Myanmar people who have been lost to the pandemic. The current surge of COVID-19 infections has taken a cruel toll on families and communities who have already suffered so much, including our own Embassy colleagues. The people of Myanmar, and those who seek to help meet their urgent health needs, must be able to live and work in safety.
The United States remains steadfastly committed to the people of Myanmar as they strive for a return to the path of democracy and now confront a worsening pandemic. Since the outbreak began in 2020, we have provided more than $20 million in COVID-19-related assistance to Myanmar, which has enabled millions of people to protect themselves from infection and seek the help they need. We have already supported more than 650 non-governmental primary health facilities, including health organizations operated by ethnic minority groups, serving people affected by COVID-19. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced this week more than $50 million in critical humanitarian assistance to the people of Burma, including for those forced to flee violence and persecution in the wake of the military coup. This aid will enable our international and NGO partners to provide emergency food assistance, life-saving protection, shelter, and essential health care to the people of Burma. However more can and must be done.
The United States continues to provide significant funding to international partners, including the Global Fund and Gavi, to support the people of Myanmar in overcoming this public health crisis. We are united in our efforts to expand access in Myanmar to COVID-19 testing, clinical care including oxygen, food assistance, and vaccines in a manner that directly supports the people of Myanmar and in accordance with humanitarian principles.
As President Biden said on June 10, “We value the inherent dignity of all people. In times of trouble, Americans reach out to offer help and to offer a helping hand. That’s who we are.”