Myanmar

DEC Myanmar (Burma) Appeal raises £6 million in first week - aid agencies warn much more is needed as they reach thousands more people in desperate need

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One week after appeal lines opened, the DEC Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Appeal donation total has reached £6 million which includes significant donations from Her Majesty The Queen and Harry Potter author JK Rowling. This money will ensure that urgent supplies of food, water and medical supplies get to thousands in the affected areas.

Speaking about the appeal to date, Brendan Gormley, Chief Executive, Disasters Emergency Committee, said: 'We'd like to thank the generosity people have shown so far. It's important to remember that our DEC members are working on the ground now and more aid is getting through by the day. We want to encourage people to continue donating so our agencies can reach more who are in desperate need.'

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.

The first Red Cross shipment of tarpaulins have reached the town of Myanmar and used to cover the roof of the town's hospital that was almost completely blown off during cyclone Nargis. Two out of four massive water purification units have already arrived in country. Once they are all up and running they will produce over a million litres of fresh water every day.

Matthias Schmale, International Director, British Red Cross, said: 'Over the past ten days, thousands of Red Cross volunteers have been providing assistance to people throughout the affected regions. They have been distributing relief items such as tarpaulins, mosquito nets, malaria pills, potable water and water purification tablets, as well as carrying out essential assessments. We have also managed to send 10 flights of aid into the country all of which is reaching those most affected.'

Tearfund relief teams have reached 23,000 people and are focussing on giving food, water, shelter, medical supplies, basic medical treatment and provision of generators to pump clean water to those in the worst affected areas.

Christian Aid partners are distributing blankets, medicines and water purification tablets and initial relief effort will aim to reach 100,000 people. Partners are also assessing the situation in the Irrawaddy delta region and around Yangon.

Concern's partner in the field will be distributing up to 75 tones of rice, as well as pulses, cooking oil, salt, sugar, tarpaulins, soap and water purification solution to more than 6,000 people over the coming few days.

To make an urgent donation to the DEC Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Appeal. Donate online: www.dec.org.uk or call: 0870 60 60 900.

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.