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Humanitarian agencies seek $303.6 million for Myanmar cyclone survivors

New York, 10 July 2008 - Humanitarian agencies today appealed for a further $303.6 million to fund efforts to continue assisting an estimated 2.4 million people who were severely affected by Cyclone Nargis, which struck the Yangon division and parts of the Ayeyarwady Delta in Myanmar in early May, leaving nearly 140,000 people either dead or missing.

Of the overall total of $481 million now requested by 13 UN agencies and 23 non-governmental organizations, $178 million has already been committed in response to the original Flash Appeal in May that sought $201 million, leaving an unmet requirement of $303.6 million. Although a significant relief peration has been mounted over the last two months, many of those affected are still in urgent need of more help. The Revised Appeal is designed to address these relief needs, as well as early recovery measures, up to the end of April 2009. The key areas are food, water, sanitation, education, health, nutrition, shelter and agriculture, as well as continued support for vital services such as emergency telecommunications, information management and logistics.

“I hope the international community will show itself fully ready, capable and willing to help provide further critically-needed assistance to the people of Myanmar,” said John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the launch of the Revised Appeal. “The survivors of this tragedy deserve nothing less.” Mr. Holmes added.

The cyclone affected area of the Ayeyarwady delta is 23,500 square kilometres – almost twice the size of Lebanon. As well as the major loss of life, the cyclone and accompanying storm surge caused huge damage to houses and the agricultural sector – the main source of livelihoods for the majority of the people of the delta. Up to 63 percent of paddy fields were inundated and 85 percent of seed stocks lost. Loss of draught animals and power tillers has affected more than 52,000 farmers, who face difficulties in the current rice planting season.

Seventy-four percent of people in the cyclone-affected areas also have inadequate access to clean water. With the monsoon season underway, providing more satisfactory shelter and helping with rainwater collection is critical to reducing the risk of disease outbreaks. Funds are sought to ensure that approximately 924,000 people receive food assistance until the November harvest this year, with continued relief to be extended to April 2009
for around 300,000 of the affected population.

Through the work of the UN-ASEAN-Government of Myanmar Tripartite Core Group (TCG) coordination mechanism, access to the country and affected areas has opened up: visas for staff from UN and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are being readily issued by the Government, in some cases on a sameday basis, and international staff have also been able to visit and work in the Ayeyarwady delta in increasing

"The victims of Cyclone Nargis are waiting, and more importantly, they are ready to move on with their lives," said Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN. "It is imperative to provide full and comprehensive assistance to get the cyclone victims back on their feet as soon as possible,” he added.


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