Nordic Ministers visit cyclone-affected communities in Myanmar

Source: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); Government of Myanmar; United Nations Country Team in Myanmar
Yangon, 23 January 2008 – A Nordic delegation hosted by the Tripartite Core Group (TCG) has for the past two days been visiting cyclone-affected communities in Myanmar. The delegation comprised Mr Erik Solheim, Minister of the Environment and International Development of Norway, Ms Ulla Toernaes, Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark, their respective Ambassadors to Myanmar, Mrs Merete Fjeld Brattested and H.E. Mr Michael Sternberg, and colleagues. They were accompanied by TCG Chairman U Kyaw Thu, Special Representative of ASEAN Secretary-General Dr Anish Roy, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Bishow Parajuli and senior members of the TCG.

During the two-day visit, the delegation met the cyclone-affected people in Bogale, Labutta, Mawlamyinegyun and Kungyangon Townships. They visited project sites that are run by non-governmental organisations and programmes which are assisted by the UN, ASEAN and the Government, such as health clinics, shelter projects and education activities. The delegation also met the Danish and Norwegian non-governmental organisations operating in the Ayeyawaddy Delta as well as UN agencies and the international donor community based in Yangon.

Commenting on the work of TCG, Danish Minister Ulla Toernaes, said; “It was impressive to see the progress that has been achieved so far. A lot remains to be done and it is important to now look beyond the emergency phase. I would like to commend the TCG-mechanism on the work they have carried out to coordinate and facilitate the effort. Without the TCG we would never have received similar results. It is essential that the TCG continues its important work”.

Her Norwegian colleague, Minister Erik Solheim, said; “The humanitarian relief and early recovery efforts after cyclone Nargis have been more successful than expected. Many schools and homes have been rebuilt, but still there are areas with great need for support. What is important now is the continued and increased access for humanitarian workers”.

The Nordic countries have provided substantial support to the affected population of the worst natural disaster in the history of Myanmar. Currently, 64% of the UN funding requirement of USD 477 million has been met. Denmark’s contributions and pledges stands at USD 11.4 million, while Norway has contributed USD 7.7 million to the Revised Appeal, according to the OCHA Financial Tracking System.

“A review conducted recently has shown that while relief efforts have reached all the affected communities, there is still much that needs to be done in terms of building back the livelihoods of the people. As such, international assistance is required to provide continued support to the cyclone affected people. The visit of the Nordic Ministers is an indication of this continued support,” said Dr Anish Roy Special Representative of ASEAN Secretary General. .

“Eight months into the humanitarian response, the immediate humanitarian needs are increasingly met and early recovery is underway. Continued support is needed to achieve sustainable recovery for all 2.4 million affected people,” said UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Bishow Parajuli, adding that international donations are crucial for the success of the three-year Post-Nargis recovery plan that will be launched next month.

Thugs and Thieves…

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