Aid to Myanmar not enough to meet existing needs – UN relief official

Survivors of Cyclone Nargis in the aftermath of the disaster

3 April 2009 – The level of humanitarian assistance that is currently being provided in Myanmar is much lower than the actual needs of the people, a senior United Nations relief official said today at a donors meeting in Yangon, calling for increased support for cyclone-affected communities and others.

Last May, Cyclone Nargis battered the South-East Asian nation, leaving around 140,000 dead or missing and uprooting 800,000 from their homes.

Bishow Parajuli, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator highlighted the urgent needs for the cyclone-affected communities in the Ayeryarwady Delta, the hardest hit region, as well as other areas of the country at today’s meeting.

“Whilst steadily recovering from Cyclone Nargis-affected areas remains high on the agenda, the UN also addresses needs for funding to other parts of the country, where immense humanitarian and development challenges exists,” he told the gathering, which drew participants from diplomatic missions, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Mr. Parajuli stressed in particular the imminent need for sustainable shelter and agricultural support ahead of the upcoming monsoon season.

Early- and medium-term recovery efforts are outlined in the three-year Post-Nargis Response and Preparedness Plan (PONREPP), which was launched earlier this year by the Tripartite Core Group (TCG) – comprising the Myanmar Government, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the UN – and has a price tag of nearly $700 million.

During a visit to Northern Rakhine State earlier this week, Mr. Parajuli witnessed just how acute the needs were for many people. Among the issues faced by those he met were the need for employment and livelihood, access to education for children, and reproductive health and family planning.

The UN, working with its partners and the Government, is working to scale up its activities in that region, the Humanitarian Coordinator said, stressing that increased donor support is crucial to these efforts.


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