UN welcomes Myanmar's post-cyclone recovery plan

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday welcomed an assessment for future international humanitarian assistance to Myanmar following the devastation by cyclone Nargis in May.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) presented the assessment for medium-term recovery needs in Myanmar at a meeting in in Singapore on Monday, attended by John Holmes, the chief UN humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator.

The cyclone left 140,000 people dead or still missing while an estimated 2.4 million people were in need of relief assistance. International relief groups have been able to reach 1.3 million people since the cyclone struck in early May.

The UN last week renewed an appeal for a total of 482 million dollars needed to provide aid to victims of the natural disaster through April 2009.

"The report (by ASEAN) offers a comprehensive, credible assessment of the humanitarian and medium-term recovery needs in the affected areas," Ban said in a statement, praising the effective partnership between ASEAN, the UN and Myanmar in rebuilding the country.

Holmes was scheduled to visit Myanmar on Tuesday to study progress in relief efforts in that country. He first visited Myanmar in late May with Ban after the military government there allowed international relief workers greater access to areas affected by the cyclone in the southern delta, dpa reported.

He said in Singapore that the ASEAN assessment will be used to "not only identify the needs of the vulnerable, but also as a tool to judge the effectiveness of our joint response in meeting those needs."

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