TCG urges donors to shore up support for cyclone survivors
Thursday, 02 July 2009 19:04
New Delhi (Mizzima) – The tripartite Core Group is urging donors to contribute US$ 157 million for rebuilding schools in cyclone-hit Irrawaddy delta of Burma.
The TCG, formed with the United Nations, the Burmese regime and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), formed in the wake of the deadly Cyclone Nargis, to oversee humanitarian assistance in the devastated areas, on Tuesday said, thousands of children in the delta are being forced to resume their education in temporary shelters and without proper supply of educational kits.
Bishow Parajuli, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Burma, in a press statement on Tuesday urged the international community to increase support for children as a huge number of school-going children lack a proper place of learning.
“The international community should increase its support, to complement national efforts to rebuild all the destroyed schools with permanent structures to reduce the risk from possible future disasters,” Parajuli said.
“Also, we need to do even more to support teachers to deal with children under complex and challenging circumstances, and help them recover from the psychological impact of the cyclone,” he added.
Cyclone Nargis, which left more than 140,000 dead or missing and devastated the lives of at least 2.4 million people, also destroyed 56.6 per cent of the total number of schools, accounting for 4,106, in the delta. The TCG said, repairing the schools, providing furniture and learning materials to children, remains a great challenge as there is insufficient funding from donor countries.
Villagers in the delta told Mizzima that as schools are yet to be rebuilt children are forced to learn in temporary learning centres and are divided into shifts to accommodate them.
A local resident of Chaung Wa village in Pyapone Township of the delta said, “I have seen some villages have rebuilt some schools but there are a lot of villages that are unable to do so, including ours.”
He said, in their village there are over 1000 children studying in seven small class rooms. Since it is congested, teachers have to divide the children into shifts.
“Only about 40 to 50 can sit in a class room, and since the school is yet to be rebuilt, they have no choice but to use the small rooms on a temporary basis,” he added.
But for some survivors, sending their children to learning centres is a big challenge as they do not have enough money for the registration even as they are forced to struggle to earn a living.
Aung Myint from Wakung village in Southern part of Laputta Township said, “I have five children. All of them are out of school since the cyclone struck, I want them to return to schools but it is impossible this year.”
Similarly, a housewife from Wakung village said she has also stopped her four children from going to schools as they are facing acute financial shortage because of lack of proper work.
An aid worker with the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) told Mizzima that survivors are still in dire straits and they are in need of external assistance particularly in terms of food and shelter.
“A lot of people still live in temporary shelters and still need to get food supply,” the aid worker said.