Helping survivors of Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar last year and claimed nearly 140,000 lives, restore their livelihoods is crucial in helping the South-East Asian nation rebuild, according to participants at a United Nations-sponsored donors meeting.
The cyclone “took away the tools people need to make a living, and hence the opportunity to produce food and secure income to their families,” said Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.
He said that it is essential to provide support – through such items as fishing nets, boats and livestock – to help people in the Ayeryarwady Delta, the hardest-hit region.
Some 60 participants, including diplomats, UN agencies and international organizations, attended the UN-organized donors’ meeting in Yangon on 27 January, which was followed by a field visit.
Only two-thirds of the $477 million sought by the UN in its revised humanitarian appeal has been met, with the agriculture sector having been funded by less than 30 per cent.
The devastating storms caused high livestock mortality, and in Ayeyarwady Division alone, one-third of fishing households lost their livelihoods.
A report issued yesterday by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) noted that although overall crop production was satisfactory last year in Myanmar due to increased harvests in areas not impacted by Cyclone Nargis, access to food is still a problem for the most vulnerable people.
The cyclone destroyed the rice harvest in the Delta area and production is expected to be half of what it was in 2007, according to the publication.