UN seeks 187 million dollars for Myanmar's cyclone victims
The United Nations on Friday appealed for 187 million dollars to fund international efforts to assist Myanmar's 1.5 million people affected by Cyclone Nargis that has killed tens of thousands people.
The appeal was launched at UN headquarters in New York as Myanmar's military junta has yet to authorize the unhindered delivery of relief goods to the victims threatened by famine, diseases and floodings.
The amount sought should cover three months of most essential needs, including plastic sheeting, water purification, materials, water receptacles, cooking sets, mosquito nets, emergency health kits and food, the UN said in a comprehensive study of the emergency relief needs that was put together by UN agencies and organizations involved in the relief efforts.
The amount will be revised regularly to reflect the actual needs of people living in areas destroyed by Nargis, which hit the vast delta region in southern Myanmar and former capital Yangon last weekend.
An estimated 23,000 people were killed and 40,000 others remained missing.
An estimated 13 million people of Myanmar's population of 53 million live in areas hit by the cyclone. The most severely affected population was estimated at 1.5 million.
"The toll of people killed, missing or affected remain difficult to assess, with the numbers continuing to increase daily," the appeal said. The UN has been relying on the Myanmar government's information and has no independent way to verify the casualty figures.
The appeal was made to UN members with a warning of current difficulties to gain access to the affected areas, the delivery of relief goods and the degrees of uncertainty on the ground in Myanmar.
The 187 million dollars should enable 10 United Nations organizations and nine non-governmental organizations to support the government's efforts to assist the 1.5 million affected people, the UN said.
The UN coordinator for emergency humanitarian assistance, John Holmes, as well as many governments, have been critical of the military government's refusal to welcome and accept international relief aid and waive visa requirements to allow relief workers and experts to enter the country. Myanmar has also restricted planes carrying food supplies to Yangon, dpa reported.