United Nations: The UN has raised about 60% of $201 million it had sought for the initial phase of relief operations for the victims of Cyclone Nargis.
The total amount of aid offered to Myanmar so far amounts to about $233 million, including the money raised by UN as a result of a flash appeal.
Because of restriction by Myanmar government in allowing international aid and humanitarian workers, the world body estimates just over one million people out of an estimated 2.4 badly affected victims have been reached so far and thus immense work remains to be done.
But officials agreed that they could not give a clear answer as to number of people affected but this was the best estimate it had.
However, most of the people reached were in Yangon division which was relatively less affected than the worst affected delta region and that is the reason for urgency for large-scale humanitarian aid.
But so far the UN has not received any information about the outbreak of any disease. However, most of the medical infrastructure, including clinics, had been destroyed in the areas cyclone struck.
In the initial stages when relief operations are being conducted, the relief agencies would require hundreds of million of dollars but billions of dollars would be needed during the rehabilitation stage, official said.
Meanwhile, officials say that international aid workers are now finding it easier to get into the country to help hundreds of thousands who are yet to see any aid reaching them.
Addressing a press conference here Tuesday, UN’s top humanitarian official John Holmes agreed some countries still had reservations about giving aid as they wanted to see if the assistance actually reaches the needy and expressed the hope that Myanmar would keep its word and let aid workers go about their business without hindrance.
But it is yet to be seen how its agreement with UN on allowing access to humanitarian workers works, Holmes said.
“The proof of pudding is in eating,” he remarked repeatedly during his half a hour talks with reporters.
Some $133 million in contributions and a further $100 million in pledges had been raised in support of relief efforts Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, said at Headquarters.
The figures, he said, reflected contributions and pledges from all sources as shown by the financial tracking service. It included the UN Flash Appeal, which had generated $75 million in contributions and $44 million in pledges.
Despite the very short notice for the International Pledging Conference held in Yangon on Sunday, the turnout had been good, with 51 countries represented and a good selection of ministers from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) countries and others from some European countries.
The Conference had been a success, reflecting a reasonably positive attitude, clear and strong unity of purpose and recognition of the magnitude of the disaster, he said. There was a clear determination to scale up the emergency relief effort to ensure that those most in need were reached.