Mizzima News - 10 July 2008
New Delhi - United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) on Wednesday announced that it will provide an additional £17.5 million to help cyclone victims, adding to a total of £ 45 million in aid since Cyclone Nargis lashed Burma two months ago.
David Leslie, spokesman of DFID said the donation will be handed over on Thursday during a United Nations' flash appeal in New York to aid groups working in Burma's Irrawaddy and Rangoon division.
United Nations aid agencies as well as several other international humanitarian groups have said emergency relief works and reconstruction programmes could come to halt unless more funds are provided.
The United Nations World Food Programme has said it requires US$ 28 million more to keep its six-month programme running.
The International Federation of Red Cross on Wednesday said it needed US$ 72.5 million to fund its three-year relief plans which will include emergency relief as well as long term reconstruction programmes.
Alistair Henley, head of the IFRC's Asia Pacific Zone said hundreds of thousands of Burmese people in the Irrawaddy and Rangoon division have been living precarious lives long before the cyclone hit them.
"Nargis has left them weaker and more vulnerable than ever. We must ensure not only that they regain what they lost but have improved and safer lives in the future," Henley said.
Leslie said, the DFID has decided to provide additional funds as a response to the flash appeal by the UN and international humanitarian groups.
Douglas Alexander, Secretary of DFID, in a statement on Wednesday said, "While access has improved and the rate of delivery of relief goods continues to increase, we believe that around 300,000 people are at quite serious risk if they do not get more help soon."
Leslie said, "We will wait and see what the flash appeal contains today, and then we will make an assessment where the money will go."
"We have assessment teams in Burma, they are looking at where the fund is needed for each organization," he added.
On May 2 and 3, Cyclone Nargis hit Burma's coastal divisions of Irrawaddy and Rangoon, leaving more than 138,000 dead and missing and devastated over 2.4 million people's lives.
Following the natural disaster in Burma, DFID immediately announced £5 million in aid and an additional £12 million on May 15. The DFID announced a further £10.5 million donation following the ASEAN/UN pledging conference in Rangoon on May 25, which Douglas Alexander attended.
Burma's military government, however, has appealed for US$ 11 billion in aid to fund emergency relief works and reconstruction in the cyclone affected region.