Pope expresses hope that aid workers be allowed to help cyclone victims in Myanmar

International Herald Tribune

The Associated Press
Published: May 30, 2008


VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI expressed hope Friday that international aid and organizations would be allowed in Myanmar to help victims of the Cyclone Nargis.

The pope made the remarks in a meeting with bishops from Myanmar Friday at the Vatican.

An agreement was reached last week under which aid workers would be allowed in to the Asian country. But human rights and aid groups complained Friday that Myanmar’s military government was still hindering the free flow of international help for victims of Cyclone Nargis.

The pope praised local Church efforts in Myanmar, and expressed hope that relief workers who are ready to offer help will be able to “enjoy effective access to the places where it is needed most.”

The head of the Myanmar Bishop’s Conference, Archbishop Paul Zinghtung Grawng, thanked the pope for his concern. The bishops also invited Benedict to visit the country.

According to the archbishop, the Catholic Church is on the rise in the predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, and now counts 650,000 members and 658 priests.

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