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Video Burma cyclone disaster: UN says 102,000 dead - Page 12
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  1. #111
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    Re: Burma cyclone disaster: UN says 102,000 dead

    UN fuel appeal for Burma farmers



    Aid agencies warn of food shortages if farmers cannot plant rice

    Burma's cyclone-hit farmers urgently need a million gallons of diesel fuel to plant rice and ward off future food shortages, the UN has said.


    The 2 May cyclone, which hit the country's Irrawaddy Delta, killed hundreds of thousands of livestock normally used for ploughing.
    Donors have provided farmers with small power tillers to replace them.
    But fuel to run them is expensive and always in short supply in the South Asian country.

    During a visit to Burma, officially known as Myanmar, a senior United Nations official appealed to donors for fuel to ensure timely ploughing of rice fields in the Irrawaddy Delta, the rice-bowl of the country.

    "The window of opportunity is very short and the need is of the utmost urgency," said Noeleen Heyzer, executive secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap), a UN body.
    "The planting season in the delta is June to July after which it will be too late, with disastrous consequences for food security in Myanmar and the region."
    The BBC's South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head says it is unclear where the fuel could come from.
    Sourcing locally for all sorts of needs, from rice to vehicles, is often not an option, he says - either because supplies are limited, or because of obstacles thrown up by the Burmese government.

    Aid agencies say they are still not getting the full access for their international staff which was promised three weeks ago.
    They say they are now required to go through a cumbersome reporting process for every trip into the delta that could significantly slow down the relief effort.

    According to official figures, 78,000 people were killed in the cyclone and another 56,000 are missing. More than two million people have been affected, aid agencies say.

    Edited from BBC News

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    Re: Burma cyclone disaster: UN says 102,000 dead

    Unseen Burma: An aid worker's story

    By Dr Chris van Tulleken
    Aid worker, Merlin



    Video:Cyclone victims speak to Dr Chris van Tulleken of the aid agency Merlin

    I couldn't believe it.


    The havoc wreaked by Nargis is still in evidence, but repairs are under way

    Finally we were on our way. I looked out the helicopter window and reflected on the last three weeks working in Rangoon. Three weeks of helping to co-ordinate Merlin's emergency response, while our medical teams in the Irrawaddy Delta worked round the clock in the heart of the devastation.
    Three weeks of being told my permit to join our teams on the ground would arrive "tomorrow" - always "tomorrow".
    Now we were not only being allowed into the delta, we were being helped by the government to run a pilot needs assessment of the entire region.

    'Don't come here'
    I was struck at how little devastation there seemed to be below me; palm-thatched roofs on houses; trees still standing.
    In Laputta, one of the largest towns in the delta, co-operative government officials hired us a boat and local guides. We steamed south on the large antique fishing boat to the coast of Pinsalu island, where our assessment would be based.
    Pinsalu translates roughly as "don't come here" and going on satellite maps and the rumour mill, it seemed indeed to be one of the worst-affected areas in the delta.

    Tidal surge
    I asked our guides about what had happened in Laputta and the surrounding towns during Nargis.
    I was again struck by how little destruction there seemed to be.
    One fisherman told me that in a small village to the south, four out of 500 people had been killed.



    I started to wonder if reports in our own press had been hugely exaggerated. But as the boat journeyed past villages standing barely above the level of the river, the destruction became more obvious.
    Many of the roofs were now replaced with incongruous bright orange tarpaulins.
    Eventually, as the river widened and we approached the Bay of Bengal where Cyclone Nargis started, I saw that scattered palms and mangroves on the banks had been stripped of their leaves and decorated to their tops with river flotsam.
    This was evidence that the tidal surge here had been 2-3m (7-10ft) high and the winds over 150mph (240kph).

    Death of a village
    As night fell, we arrived at Pinsalu, a village bearing the same name as the island, but 3km from the coast.
    I could see a dog across a small stream rummaging near a dead buffalo.
    It was impossible not to think what other corpses might be concealed.
    Pinsalu had been utterly destroyed.
    Only the naked wooden frame of the monastery and the brick shell of the hospital were left standing.
    In place of the village of 4,000 was now a tented government and a camp of 500 people run by an aid organisation.
    More than half the villagers had died during the cyclone.

    Bodies
    We spent the night in Pinsalu sleeping on the deck of our boat with rain, insects and images of the day preventing any real sleep.


    A huge aid effort is needed to avert disease and hunger over the coming months

    I wondered what we would find on the coast. At first light we started to walk along the desolate beach facing the open sea toward the village of Aung Hlaing.
    I walked away from our small group, to where the tide had deposited bodies at the top of the beach.
    They lay on their backs, mouths open, their skin bleached by the sun and seawater. Most of them were recognisably women and children; they had been less able than the men to swim or cling to something solid when the water surged over their heads.

    Rebuilding lives
    We waded through chest-deep mud and water and finally entered what remained of the village.
    Before Nargis, 580 people had lived here.
    Over 400 had died.
    Men - fishermen, monks and rice farmers - gathered round to answer questions on what they needed now.
    I was only able to count three women of reproductive age out of the 100 or so people who had returned to the village.
    Doctors are generally good at asking difficult questions and hearing difficult answers.
    But asking a group of 40 men how their wives and children died a month ago left me feeling helpless.
    Details of their stories brought life to the rumours and speculations of Rangoon.
    A nine-year-old girl showed me the tree she had hidden up during the storm.
    A man showed me scars on his back - from when he had been lashed by torrential rain.
    I had only a snapshot of one part of the delta but what will stay with me more than images or stories of death is the hope and sense of purpose of the people of Aung Hlaing.
    They were already rebuilding their lives and homes and the government was helping them in partnership with international non-governmental organisations like Merlin.
    While this has so far allowed people to return, and avoided deaths from epidemic disease or malnutrition, a massive and ongoing international effort is still required to prevent a second catastrophe.

    Edited from BBC News

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    Re: Burma cyclone disaster: UN says 102,000 dead

    Burma blocks emergency telecoms
    By Jonathan Fildes
    Science and technology reporter, BBC News



    More than two million people are thought to have been affected

    Two teams of foreign aid workers dedicated to delivering emergency telecoms in disaster areas have been forced to leave cyclone-hit Burma.

    The members of Telecoms Sans Frontieres (TSF) left the country after attempts to reach affected areas were blocked.
    The charity, which described the situation as "unprecedented", said it had no other choice but to leave.

    TSF finally reached Burma on 1 June after waiting nearly a month to be granted visas to enter the country.
    "The frustration is that we were allowed into the country but not allowed to deploy," TSF spokesman Oisin Walton told BBC News.
    Many international charities were allowed into Burma following a visit to the area by UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon.
    But repeated attempts to get the necessary authorisation to visit affected areas such as the Irrawaddy Delta, were met with a wall of silence.
    "We got no reply at all," said Mr Walton.
    But despite being granted visas to enter the country - one month after the event - the teams were held in Rangoon.
    In the meantime other charities were given the go ahead to deploy to the worst affected regions.
    Mr Walton believes that TSF was blocked because of the nature of its work.
    "They obviously didn't want us in the affected areas with telecommunications equipment," said Mr Walton.

    Some charities have had communications equipment held at the border, he said. Limited facilities are currently being provided by Unicef and the World Food Programme (WFP).
    "Aid agencies are doing a wonderful job but the government is not helping," he said.
    Had the charity reached the disaster, teams would have set up communications centres for other charities and organisations.
    These contain all the telecoms and IT equipment found in a normal office - including printers, scanners, laptops and phones - housed in a tent or temporary shelter.
    Connections are made via satellite links.

    In addition, it offers "welfare" calls to affected people, allowing them to make contact with friends and family.
    The charity has a commitment to the UN to deploy within 48 hours but is generally in the field within just 24 hours.
    "We are an emergency response NGO," said Mr Walton. "But it's not really an emergency response two months after the event."

    Edited from BBC News

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    Re: Burma cyclone disaster: UN says 102,000 dead

    Burma aid effort 'requires $1bn'



    Many still need help after Burma's worst ever disaster

    Relief and reconstruction work in Burma after Cyclone Nargis will cost at least $1bn (£500m), according to the UN and the regional body Asean.
    The figure is in a report released at Asean's annual meeting in Singapore.
    It is the first comprehensive assessment of the damage caused by the cyclone on 3-4 May, which is believed to have killed 130,000 people.
    Burma's ruling generals were criticised in the wake of the cyclone for being slow to accept international aid.
    Asean has already played a key part in helping to facilitate exchanges between Burma's ruling junta and international donors.

    Enormous task
    Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan told a news conference that the three parties involved in the report - the UN, Asean and the Burmese government - needed at least $1bn to deal with "a tragedy of immense proportions".
    The estimated figure covers the most urgent needs such as food, agriculture and housing for the next three years.
    "The task ahead is clearly enormous and will take a lot of time, a lot of effort," Mr Surin said.

    "While significant progress has been made to date, we are still in the relief phase for this aid operation," added the UN humanitarian chief John Holmes.
    The report outlines the scale of the cyclone - Burma's worst ever disaster - and estimates that it destroyed 450,000 homes, damaged 350,000 others, flooded 600,000 hectares of agricultural land and destroyed 60% of farming implements.
    About 75% of hospitals and clinics in the area were destroyed or badly damaged.

    Edited from BBC News

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    Re: Burma cyclone disaster: UN says 102,000 dead

    This whole situation really makes it clear to me how useless the UN is as an organization. Now they need billions of dollars to do what? Negotiate with these criminals more? It's too late for decisive action that could have saved thousands of lives. Plus the veto power of security council members prevents them from doing anything useful anyway. They might as well just become a charity organization. Sorry, but they are a waste of taxpayers money in my opinion.
    I just feel sorry and pray for the poor people that are still waiting for them to do something.

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    Re: Burma cyclone disaster: UN says 102,000 dead

    Art therapy

    In the weeks following Cyclone Nargis, Burma's military rulers refused to let foreigners into the devastated Irrawaddy Delta.As a result much of the initial relief effort was left to smaller groups with a permanent presence there.
    One such organisation - the Foundation for the People of Burma - managed to mobilise about 300 people.
    The workers noticed the children were "listless and in need of playful outlets" - so they gave them crayons and pencils and encouraged them to draw.

    See their pictures here.

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    Re: Burma cyclone disaster: UN says 102,000 dead

    Whatever these people are going through, they will never be forsaken. The crimes by the cruel will one day be justified for nobody can escape the laws of kharma. They will taste their bitter fruits when the time is ripe. May Thy Will be done at Thy choice hour.

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    Re: Burma cyclone disaster: UN says 102,000 dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Khun Don View Post
    Art therapy

    In the weeks following Cyclone Nargis, Burma's military rulers refused to let foreigners into the devastated Irrawaddy Delta.As a result much of the initial relief effort was left to smaller groups with a permanent presence there.
    One such organisation - the Foundation for the People of Burma - managed to mobilise about 300 people.
    The workers noticed the children were "listless and in need of playful outlets" - so they gave them crayons and pencils and encouraged them to draw.

    See their pictures here.
    Those pictures and simple words of children say so much. I hope they will be shared throughout the world. Thank you for making them available to us.

  9. #119
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    Re: Burma cyclone disaster: UN says 102,000 dead

    UN ends Bangkok "air bridge" to Burma

    The UN World Food Programme (WFP) on Friday shut down its "relief air bridge" to Burma after delivering 4 million kilogrammes of cargo from Bangkok to the victims of Cyclone Nargis.

    Thai authorities were quick to offer Don Mueang, Bangkok's old international airport, as a logistics hub for the massive relief effort for neighbouring Burma in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, which hit the impoverished country in May, leaving about 140,000 dead or missing and another 2.4 million badly in need of food, medicine and shelter.

    The international relief effort was initially stalled by Burma's ruling military junta, which was reluctant to allow an unhindered influx of cargo and foreign aid workers into the cloistered country.

    By establishing a logistics hub in Bangkok, the United Nations was able to eventually speed up air deliveries to the cyclone victims in Burma once the regime eased their restrictions.

    "For the WFP and the wider UN and NGO community, the air hub was critical for the provision of vital relief supplies to the people of Myanmar," said Tony Banbury, Asia regional director for the WFP.

    In the three months since the opening of the Don Mueang humanitarian air bridge on May 24, 232 relief flights were dispatched to Burma, he said.

    Nearly 4 million kilogrammes of cargo were delivered, including shelter materials, medical supplies, mosquito nets and water-purification equipment.

    Ten chartered WFP helicopters were also sent through the Bangkok air bridge, arriving in Yangon in early June, where they flew relief supplies into the heart of the disaster zone in the Irrawaddy Delta.

    Two helicopters remain in operation there.

    The UN relief effort for the victims of Cyclone Nargis was expect to continue for months, but the delivery system has largely shifted to the affected areas in Burma and is being handled by ships and trucks, WFP officials said. dpa

    Bangkok Post

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