FRESH BURMA AID APPEAL TWO YEARS ON FROM CYCLONE NARGIS

By NBF News
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Reconstruction in the low-lying Irrawaddy Delta has been very slow

Two years after a devastating cyclone hit Burma, the aid agency Oxfam has appealed for more aid, as international funding pledges remain unfulfilled.

Oxfam said that two years into a three-year appeal, only about a quarter of the money needed had been promised.

With the monsoon season approaching in Burma, shelter and agriculture were priorities, it said.

Cyclone Nargis killed about 140,000 people and severely affected the lives of another 2.5 million.

After an international outcry, Burma's military government eventually opened up to foreign aid – but now Oxfam says that aid is falling short and putting its achievements at risk.

Desperate
Sarah Ireland, Oxfam's East Asia director, said: “I think the international community continues to be divided on whether they should be supporting a country like Burma at this time.”

With the monsoon season approaching, Oxfam says agriculture and shelter are priorities.

But in some parts of the Irrawaddy delta, the needs are overwhelming.

A monk in Labutta told BBC Burmese: “Some aid has come in since the cyclone, but now aid agencies have wrapped up their operations.

“Many people are jobless. Several families have to share a home.”

The United Nations has echoed Oxfam's plea for more money.

The cyclone that ripped across the fertile delta of the Irrawaddy caused a humanitarian disaster on a scale comparable to the Asian tsunami.