Needs are still great for Myanmar’s cyclone victims, says UN-backed group

15 December 2008
The devastating cyclone has left hundreds of thousands of people desperately in need of help

A review of the progress made to date to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims of Cyclone Nargis has found that while relief efforts are ongoing, they need to be stepped up, especially to ensure food security, a United Nations-backed group said today.

The comprehensive field assessment was led by the Tripartite Core Group (TCG) – comprising the UN, the Government of Myanmar and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – and included the participation of national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The first of three “Periodic Reviews,” the assessment not only examines the humanitarian relief and early recovery efforts being made in the wake of the disaster which struck the country in early May, but also produces data for future planning.

“Progress in relief and recovery efforts is being made every day. At the same time, the initial findings of the Periodic Review signal that more has to be done to meet all needs,” said UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Bishow Parajuli.

“There are chronic needs in food security and nutrition,” he noted, adding that greater support is also needed in the western delta and some of the larger towns.

Cyclone Nargis, which left around 140,000 dead or missing and displaced 800,000 people from their homes, has been described by UN humanitarian chief John Holmes as the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Myanmar.

Deputy Foreign Minister of Myanmar U Kyaw Thu, who serves as TCG Chairman, today reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to build trust, confidence and cooperation with ASEAN, the UN and the international community.

“We are all working towards a common goal; to continue to provide efficient and sufficient assistance to the people affected by Nargis,” he stated.

At its meeting today, the TCG also reviewed the final draft of the Post-Nargis Recovery and Preparedness Plan (PONREPP), which outlines the framework for the international community’s recovery assistance over the next three years.

A news release from the Group added that the UN has so far received $304 million, or 64 per cent, of the $477 million it appealed for a few months ago to assist those affected by the cyclone in Myanmar.


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