Burma will continue to require international aid to ensure communities
hard hit by the devastation from Cyclone Nargis are able to avoid
starvation. But, as Ron Corben reports from Bangkok, despite the help
from the United Nations and Association of South East Asian Nations,
senior ASEAN officials says the political situation in Burma continues
to hinder their efforts.
The Association of South East Asian
Nations, or ASEAN, is warning that the international community needs to
continue to maintain support for relief operations in Burma.
needs at least $1 billion in emergency relief and
reconstruction over the next three years for the hardest hit areas in
the Irrawaddy delta region that bore the brunt May 2 cyclone.
than 130,000 people were killed or remain missing from the cyclone,
with the total cost of rebuilding estimated at more $4 billion.
together with the United Nations and Burma, formed the Tripartite Core
Group after the international community pressured the Burmese
government to open the country for more assistance.
Surin Pitsuwan, ASEAN secretary general, told reporters Friday that recovery efforts are ongoing.
"The emergency, the recovery is still with us," he said. "That is solid. We are not going into any long-term planning."
tripartite group this week released the Post-Nargis Joint Assessment
(PONJA) report, based on surveys conducted by 250 officials and
volunteers of the worst affected regions.
Puji Pujiono, a senior
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) officer, said that while the
political situation in Burma is impeding aid efforts, there has been
some success in helping the hardest hit communities.
are standing now our colleagues, the political complication remains
there, it will continue to be there for the months to come," he said.
"The suffering is still there, people still lacking food, shelter and
so on. But we have the mechanisms; we have done something right in this
tripartite core group."
The storm wiped out around 4,000
schools and about 75 percent of health facilities and damaged or
destroyed about 800,000 houses and more than 600,000 hectares of
Don Baker, the U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator in Burma,
says the international community's continuing efforts remain vital for
"Nobody has died since the cyclone from starvation but
when we did the PONJA survey more than half of the population at that
time only had food supplies for one day," he said. "So we have to keep
the food going until the next harvest and even beyond because this next
harvest is not going to be a full one."
The New York-based
Human Rights Watch, while commending the Tripartite Core Group, warned
assistance to victims was still being hampered by the military
Human Rights Watch said large numbers of people are
still not receiving aid and face food shortages, shelter needs, lack
basic sanitation and face grave psychological consequences from the