MYANMAR: Cyclone recovery “will take up to four years” (IRIN)

YANGON, 15 January 2009 (IRIN) – Cyclone survivors in Myanmar will likely need up to four years to fully recover from the impact of Nargis, according to the UN.

“Full recovery will take three to four years, depending on the availability of funds,” Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, told IRIN in Yangon, the former Burmese capital.

His assessment runs from May 2008 when the cyclone struck to 2011, the recovery period now being envisioned by the upcoming Post-Nargis Recovery and Preparedness Plan, a strategic framework for the international community’s recovery assistance.

More than eight months after Nargis left close to 140,000 people dead or missing when it hit the Ayeyarwady delta on 2 and 3 May, life remains a struggle for thousands of the 2.4 million people affected, many of whom lost their homes, property and livelihoods.

Despite a massive outpouring of humanitarian assistance, recovery will not be quick. Indonesia took four to five years to recover from the Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed some 167,000 people in the western province of Aceh in 2004, Parajuli explained.

Massive challenges

Across the affected area – nearly twice the size of Lebanon – relief and recovery in the coming months will likely run in parallel.

Since the start of its operations in May, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has provided food to more than one million people and will continue to do so through April, covering the needs of at least 450,000 people.

An assessment in February will determine whether that support will have to be continued. continue

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