Myanmar: Donor conference results - Another million survivors waiting to be reached

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The DEC Members and partners who have been working in Myanmar since before Cyclone Nargis hit the country are hopeful that the progress made in the donor conference actually leads to support for more than a million survivors still needing help. The agencies are calling for greater access for staff and supplies into the Delta, and effective and practical coordination of the aid response.

World Vision currently has 580 national staff and 11 international staff in-country, with six staff waiting to travel into Myanmar. The agency has so far distributed initial aid to more than 220,000 people in Yangon and the Delta area.

'Our response to this disaster can be scaled up significantly if commitments are followed through. We need more access for international staff and supplies into the hardest-hit areas,' said Steve Goudswaard, manager of World Vision's response to Cyclone Nargis. 'More than three weeks on and the priorities are the same. We need to get shelter, food, water and healthcare to thousands affected by this disaster.'

'The next few days will be important in establishing how international aid agencies will work practically with the mechanism established by the UN, ASEAN and the government.' said Goudswaard.

Merlin is about to deploy extra staff to the region. Carolyn Miller, Chief Executive of Merlin, says: 'It is vital we take this opportunity to get aid and medical supplies to those who need it the most. Merlin has some 500 Burmese staff working in the delta region, however this decision will allow us to reach even more people. An estimated 1.5 million people were severely affected by the cyclone and still struggle without clean water and shelter. Increasing access will ensure diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia do not take hold. "

Save the Children spokesperson Ben Dempsey, who has just returned from Burma, said: "The money we have now is being spent directly in the areas hit by the cyclone. It is saving lives."

"Having said that we need greater access. Leaders from the donor conference must keep up the pressure on the Burmese government to ensure that aid can get in, now, tomorrow and for as long as is needed."

Speaking about the impact of the appeal to date, Brendan Gormley, Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee, said: "The British people have been giving generously despite the lack of pictures and information. I hope that they understand that aid is getting through and this money will be vital in providing food, shelter, clean water and basic medicines."

'With a disaster of this magnitude however, there are many more who still desperately need our help. We urgently need more funds.'

"We are pleased to have the support of UK major mobile operators so people can show thier support through a simple text."

The agreement includes 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone have joined forces with the DEC to create a text donation mechanism. Texting 'DONATE' to 83696 will provide a donation of between =A31.27 to =A31.50 to the DEC Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Appeal.

To make an urgent donation to its Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Appeal. Donate online or call: 0870 60 60 900.