Speaking today, Thursday 15 May 2008, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has expressed his profound sadness following the recent natural disasters in Myanmar (Burma) and China.

Cyclone Nargis struck Burma on 2 May, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. Yesterday, the UN increased its estimate of those severely affected by the cyclone to 2.5m. It is the one of the worst storms in recorded history.

Understandably, the FIFA President's thoughts are with the victims of the disaster and their families. "FIFA has a strong social conscience and a long humanitarian tradition, which naturally includes offering any assistance it can to countries affected by natural disasters and, in particular, contributing to their reconstruction," he said. "We also have the benefit of experience in dealing with the effects of natural disasters, as we were closely involved in the rebuilding of communities in the wake of the enormous damage caused by the tsunami in 2004."

The relief efforts have been hampered by the Sichuan earthquake which took place on 12 May.

"It is an area with which we have close ties following the last year's FIFA Women's World Cup in Chengdu," added the FIFA President.