U.N. says aid to Myanmar still a challenge

Aug. 5, 2008 at 5:14 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Delivery of aid and recovery assistance to Myanmar three months after a devastating cyclone struck remains a challenge, the United Nations said Tuesday.

"We have seen significant progress being made in the affected areas as a result of the coordinated efforts of local and international humanitarian actors. However, much more urgently needs to be done in remote areas where affected communities are still living in dire conditions," Daniel Baker, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator in Myanmar, said in a news release.

With the loss of up to 85 percent of seed stocks and 50 percent of buffaloes in cyclone-affected areas of the Ayeyarwady Delta, providing assistance for paddy farming in time for the monsoon planting season remains critical, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The military government of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has insisted on overseeing the flow of aid into the country after Cyclone Nargis struck.

To date, more than 25,600 tons of food have been delivered to affected areas, reaching 684,000 cyclone-affected people, the U.N. humanitarian office said.

However, the office said food needed to reach another 924,000 vulnerable individuals systematically for the next nine months.

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