Wednesday, January 12, 2011

US donates $1.5 million in aid to Cyclone Giri victims

Wednesday, 12 January 2011 00:15 Ko Pauk

New Delhi (Mizzima) – US embassy officials in Rangoon said on Tuesday that the US government will donate US$1.5 million as aid to Cyclone Giri victims in Rakhine (Arakan) State in Burma.

United States Aid for International Development will give $1.5 million to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to buy food for the victims who were hit by the cyclone last October.

This is the first assistance given by the international community after the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a report on December 20 which said only 45 percent of emergency relief for Giri victims had been received so far.

A projected $37 million is still needed for rehabilitation besides food assistance for more than 200,000 people.

The US government donated $300,000 earlier in emergency relief funds given to local social and aid groups.

‘We welcome this assistance. We’re glad to see assistance to these cyclone victims by UN agencies, the international community and especially from European countries and Latin American countries’, Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) party chairman Dr. Aye Maung told Mizzima.

‘It will amount to about 1,200 million kyat. A bag of rice now costs 11,000 kyat. So this money will cover about three months if one bag of rice is distributed to each family. Food assistance is only for immediate relief, and we need much more for rehabilitation’, he said.

A resident in Kyauk Phyu told Mizzima: ‘We have not yet seen rehabilitation work here. Relief operators and charity organisations came and distributed rice, cooking oil and some other relief material. We also see the UN and WFP coming through in cars. But we have not yet seen rehabilitation work’.

The Committee Representing the People’s Parliament (CRPP), including Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and independent candidates who stood in the 2010 general election, donated about 15 million kyat on December 13 to victims in cyclone-hit regions.

On December 28, Suu Kyi, veteran politicians, CRPP members, some independent candidates, the Democratic Party (Myanmar) members and leaders of the Democracy and Peace Party sent an appeal letter to foreign countries requesting assistance for Giri victims.

Cyclone Giri devastated Kyauk Phyu, Myaybon, Minbya and Pauktaw townships on October 22, leaving 45 people dead or missing and more than 100,000 people homeless.

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