Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, chaired the second meeting of the ASEAN Humanitarian Task Force on 29 May 2008 at the ASEAN Secretariat.  Dr Surin reported signs of progress and momentum in assisting the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. More relief supplies have been sent and more helicopters of the World Food Programme have flown into the affected areas in the Irrawaddy delta.  Dr Surin described these developments as “signs of good progress”.

The composition of the Tripartite Core Group (TCG), which will be the main operational arm of the Task Force, is firming up.  Singapore’s Ambassador to Myanmar, Robert Chua, has been appointed ASEAN’s leading member of the TCG, while the UN system will be led by Dan Baker, the UNDP Resident Representative in Myanmar.  The TCG is chaired by Myanmar’s Deputy Foreign Minister Kyaw Thu.

The representatives from the TCG will meet Mr Kyaw Thu as soon as possible to discuss the TCG work plan, including providing support to the ERAT in its upcoming field assessment and visa facilitation.

The World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and ASEAN Dialogue Partners have pledged their support for this ASEAN humanitarian initiative.

The third meeting of the Task Force is scheduled on 25 June 2008 in Yangon.  The ASEAN Emergency Rapid Assessment Team will conduct field assessments in the cyclone-hit areas in June and will provide a more comprehensive report in time for the third meeting of the Task Force.