Myanmar

Aid flow into Myanmar (Burma) increases by 50 per cent as restrictions ease

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Life-saving supplies funded by the DEC Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Appeal are now reaching more than 900,000 people. This is a 50 per cent increase on last week as relief teams press further into the Irrawaddy Delta.

Dr Sean Keogh, a disaster response specialist from one of the DEC member agencies, has just returned from the inaccessible Laputta region, where a boat carrying emergency supplies for 140,000 people arrived yesterday.

'When I arrived it was like a nuclear landscape, everything had been destroyed' said Dr Keogh of Merlin, 'Thousands of people are still in desperate need of food, water and shelter.'

People of the UK can still play a key role in saving the lives of those who survived the initial storm. The £8 million already donated by the British public is paying for much-needed food, water and medical supplies.

Brendan Gormley, Chief Executive of the DEC, warned: 'The situation is still desperate and without more international help over the coming weeks the death toll is bound to increase. We urgently need more funds if we are going to continue to reach more people.'

A partner of Christian Aid, who wished to remain anonymous, is providing clean water for 25,000 people a day with huge water containers and water purification liquids.

'The Delta area was already very vulnerable as people were so much on edge,' said the partner, 'Most of the people living there were landless labourers and lived in flimsy shacks in the fields. They were the worst hit. People have so little expectations that they will even get any help.'

The Red Cross Red Crescent relief pipeline has so far carried 42,000 mosquito nets, 36,000 tarpaulins, shelter kits for around 35,000 people, over 20,000 jerry cans and over 7,000 kitchen kits into Rangoon.

The DEC provides information on its website - www.dec.org.uk about how the money is being used to give the British public assurance that their money is being and will continue to be spent where it is most needed.

To make an urgent donation to the DEC Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Appeal call: 0870 60 60 900.

Ends

Notes to editors:

The DEC

The Disasters Emergency Committee agencies are Action Aid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.

Public donations will be used for immediate needs such as food, clean water, medicines and shelter. But the scale of the devastation is so immense that a huge relief and reconstruction effort will be needed over the coming months.

1. For press information please call 020 7387 0200 or 07930 999014 (out of hours).

2. The DEC criteria to launch an appeal are: The disaster must be on such a scale and of such urgency as to call for swift International humanitarian assistance.

The DEC agencies, or some of them, must be in a position to provide effective and swift humanitarian assistance at a scale to justify a national Appeal.

There must be sufficient public awareness of, and sympathy for, the humanitarian situation so as to give reasonable grounds for concluding that a public Appeal would be successful.