Myanmar cyclone victims needs sustained support says UNbacked group

The Group “recognizes that the needs of the Cyclone Nargis’ victims are still great and that increased and committed financial support is necessary in order to continue assistance to the cyclone survivors,” according to a joint statement issued yesterday. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), donors have provided $240 million in response to the appeal, which covers food supplies, agriculture, water and sanitation, health, schooling and shelter. Of these, agriculture and early recovery continue to be the least funded sectors. Over 733,000 people have received food aid during the nearly five months since the disaster, and outbreaks of water-borne diseases have been successfully prevented in the cyclone-affected areas. Clean water is among the concerns for the months ahead, due to damage to rainwater collection systems and saltwater contamination of ponds, as well as low rainfall. The UN has underlined the importance of continued support and called on the international community not to forget the cyclone survivors as the months pass. “People and communities have been severely affected,” said UN Resident Coordinator Bishow Parajuli. “It will take a long time until the needs are met.” The Group will undertake its first review of progress in the humanitarian effort in November and expects to present its findings in mid-December. 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. 1 October 2008The United Nations, the Myanmar Government and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which comprises the Tripartite Core Group, have stressed the need for continued assistance to the some 2.4 million people affected by Cyclone Nargis, noting that nearly half of the $482 million appeal launched in July remains unfunded.

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