UN raises awareness on increased humanitarian and development needs in Myanmar

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(Yangon: 3 April 2009): The UN highlighted urgent needs for the cyclone affected communities in the delta, in addition to calling for increased support to people in need in other parts of country. The appeals were held in a donor meeting organized by the UN in Yangon today, that was attended by around 70 participants, including Heads of Diplomatic missions, UN Agencies and National and International Non-Governmental Organizations.

"There is an imminent need for sustainable shelter and agricultural support ahead of the monsoon season. Whilst steadily recovering from cyclone Nargis affected areas remains high on the agenda, the UN also addresses needs for funding to other parts of the country, where immense humanitarian and development challenges exists," said the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Bishow Parajuli.

The UN appeals for funding to cover urgent pre-monsoon needs in the delta, as well as to cover the activities outlined in the three-year recovery plan (PONREPP) with an estimated cost of US$ 691 million. In today's meeting, the UK confirmed its support by announcing an increase in its aid to Myanmar by =A310 million ($14 million) in each of the next two years. About 60% of the increase is to be spent on cyclone-related assistance, in line with the priorities set out in the PONREPP, and about 40% on its regular programme of humanitarian aid across the country. This is in addition to previously announced increases by the UK, which planning figures are now =A325 million ($35 million) for 2009/10 and =A328 million ($39 million) for 2010/11.

The level of humanitarian assistance that currently is being provided in Myanmar is much lower than the actual needs of the people. This was highlighted by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator who visited Northern Rakhine State (NRS) earlier this week.

"I met with a large number of people who are unemployed and have no or very little livelihoods opportunities. Children need help to be able to access and accomplish school. Protection issues, reproductive health and family planning need to be addressed. The UN in cooperation its partners and the Government is currently working to scale up its activities in NRS, for which increased donor support is crucial," Parajuli said.

"Food security, agriculture, shelter, disaster risk reduction, health, education, water and sanitation are practical areas for the donor community to support in partnering the Government and the UN cooperation to meet humanitarian and socio-economic development needs in the delta, as well as in NRS and other areas," said Singapore's Ambassador to Myanmar, H.E. Robert Chua, who attended the meeting.