Two years after Cyclone Nargis left 2.4 million people in need of emergency food, housing and other forms of critical assistance, the United Nations aid coordinator in Myanmar said today that just a quarter of the pledged funds have come in and the gap threatens the long-term revival of the area hit by the disaster.
“The United Nations and international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been able to provide large-scale assistance to the people affected by the cyclone, complementing the Government’s efforts,” the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, Bishow Parajuli, told journalists in Yangon, the country’s biggest city.
Cyclone Nargis, which pummelled Myanmar on 2 and 3 May 2008, killed an estimated 140,000 people and left millions of others in need of aid.
The UN and its partners have been able to provide nutrition support for nearly 39,000 children; water purification materials to 680,000 people; shelter assistance to more than 182,000 families; and livelihood support to more than 1.5 million people.
“But two years on, significant gaps threaten to slow down or even halt longer-term recovery efforts. Our work is far from done and the people still need help,” Mr. Parajuli said.
The three-year Post-Nargis Recovery and Preparedness Plan (PONREPP) – launched in February 2009 by the UN, the Government and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and requiring $691 million – is only about 25 per cent funded.
According to recent assessments, 100,000 vulnerable families still need to rebuild their homes.
Some 180,000 people still face acute water shortage, and there is a great need for agricultural support and the creation of income – generating opportunities at the community level.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last month called on governments worldwide to invest more in disaster risk reduction measures, saying that lives can be saved and property destruction minimized with better planning, training and public education.