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5 May 2009

Cyclone Nargis swept across southern Myanmar on the evening of May 2, 2008, leaving a trail of death and destruction before tapering off the next day. (...) Immediately following the cyclone, WFP logistics teams rushed to meet the enormous challenge of bringing in disaster relief supplies, equipment and prepared foods to the populated areas badly hit by the cyclone, many of which were isolated and flooded, and only accessible by boat. Teaming up with other international and UN agencies, WFP led the way in securing the Government of Myanmar's permission to gain international access to the country and coordinate much-needed relief efforts – actions that helped prevent further loss of life from disease and exposure in the weeks following the storm.


4 May 2009

If A few small gold earrings escaped the cyclone the villagers pawn them, otherwise they pawn their clothes. They complain that moneylenders advance only a fraction of the item’s value. And, with an interest rate of 30% a month, they can rarely afford to redeem their collateral. (...) The leaders of the international rescue operation insist that everyone received some assistance, and the feared secondary wave of deaths was averted. By October 2008 the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) had reached 1.1m people, exceeding the 920,000 it originally envisaged. If basic needs were eventually met, however, the recovery phase has barely begun. Some 500,000 people still have no permanent home, 200,000 have no access to fresh water and 350,000 are receiving WFP food aid.


4 May 2009

Debt problems and lack of credit. A housing crisis and a funding shortfall. These are not the problems of the Western world in the face of the global economic downturn, but some of the lingering challenges in Myanmar one year after devastating Cyclone Nargis hit the country, aid groups said. (...) Some 130,000 people are still living in temporary shelters, said Chris Kaye, the World Food Program director in Myanmar. Light, of Oxfam, said half a million people are living in what the group considers "inadequate" shelter. "Whilst the international community did an outstanding job in providing temporary emergency shelter in the form of tarpaulins and plastic sheeting and so on and so forth, it's that permanent shelter which is so important, and which we're struggling (with) now," Kaye told CNN.


3 May 2009

Cyclone Nargis swept across southern Myanmar on the evening of May 2, 2008, leaving a trail of death and destruction before tapering off the next day. (...) Immediately following the cyclone, WFP logistics teams rushed to meet the enormous challenge of bringing in disaster relief supplies, equipment and prepared foods to the populated areas badly hit by the cyclone, many of which were isolated and flooded, and only accessible by boat. Teaming up with other international and UN agencies, WFP led the way in securing the Government of Myanmar's permission to gain international access to the country and coordinate much-needed relief efforts – actions that helped prevent further loss of life from disease and exposure in the weeks following the storm.


2 May 2009

The monsoons are due any day now, and for the hundreds of villagers with fresh memories of last year's deadly Cyclone Nargis, an emergency shelter that opened Saturday was yet another reminder that their huts - and their lives - remain fragile.(...) "Shelter is probably the No. 1 challenge or difficulty faced by hundreds of thousands of families across the delta," said Paul Risley, a spokesman for the U.N.'s World Food Program, which expects to provide rations for the rest of the year to at least 350,000 survivors.


1 May 2009

Hundreds of thousands of people in Burma still need assistance, a year after Cyclone Nargis struck killing more than 140,000 people, the UN has warned. Two million people lost their homes and many survivors still live in flimsy shelters. Paul Risley, Asia spokesman for the UN World Food Programme, spoke to the BBC about the challenges facing aid agencies.


30 April 2009

Hundreds of thousands of people are still without decent jobs and housing a year after Cyclone Nargis ripped through Myanmar, leaving many vulnerable to the coming monsoon rains and mired in a life of poverty, humanitarian groups said Thursday. (...) But international charities and U.N. agencies like the World Food Program say hundreds of millions of dollars are still needed over the next several years to rebuild the delta's decimated infrastructure and provide farmers and fishermen with the cash they need to regain their livelihoods. (...) "We can provide a farmer and his family with food in a weekly ration, but that same farmer will need cash to purchase seeds, to restore fields and replace the plows and livestock they lost," WFP spokesman Paul Risley told reporters at a news conference in Bangkok.


30 April 2009

A year after Cyclone Nargis battered army-ruled Myanmar, killing nearly 140,000 people, paddy fields remain bare and tens of thousands of survivors live in makeshift shelters. (...) "The biggest problem for the people down in these parts is they haven't been able to maintain an income flow," Chris Kaye, country director for the World Food Programme (WFP), told Reuters during a recent visit to the delta.


29 April 2009

Survivors of Cyclone Nargis are at risk of being abandoned one year on, as Myanmar's junta threatens fresh curbs on foreign aid workers and donors hold back for political reasons, experts say. (...) "We are obviously very anxious at the moment about possible shifts going on," Chris Kaye, Myanmar country director for the World Food Programme, told AFP. "The whole issue of the visas seems to be indicative of a tightening of access and maybe increasing restrictions in terms of what the international community can do, (but) we are working through this problem as best we can."


29 April 2009

The boat's owner points to a palm-covered bend in the river where dozens of bamboo huts perched on spindly stilts - until Cyclone Nargis devastated this remote region a year ago. "There were many, many bodies," Tin Maung Thein, 57, says through an interpreter, gesturing toward a lush expanse of green where bloated corpses once gently nudged the high tide mark. (…) The World Food Program initially provided food for more than 1 million cyclone survivors. While phasing out food donations proved impossible in the original six-month timeframe, the number of recipients has been falling, to 250,000. Chris Kaye, the U.N. World Food Program's representative in Myanmar, concedes that remote villages such as Oak-kyiut struggled to receive their share of aid because of difficulties in reaching them. But he insists aid is getting to those who need it.