Military-ruled Myanmar needs around $700 million in aid over the next three years to recover from last year's devastating cyclone, an aid coordinating group said on Monday. The appeal, focused on eight key areas including nutrition, health and livelihoods, comes at a time when many countries are being squeezed by the global economic crisis. [...] Last year's flash appeal for more than $470 million in aid after Cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy delta on May 2 has raised $310 million so far. But officials from the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were confident donors would help with the three-year recovery plan. [...] Lack of new credit and access to markets have saddled many delta farmers with heavy debts, said Chris Kaye, country director for the U.N.'s World Food Programme. A survey of more than 2,000 households in October 2008 found that one in three were still in temporary shelters. Access to clean water remains a challenge.
The Hindustan Times / Reuters