Bangkok, 25 November 2009
ASEAN, in partnership with the UN and humanitarian partners, mobilised over US$ 88 million to assist Cyclone Nargis survivors with recovery activities at the Post-Nargis and Regional Partnership Conference in Bangkok today.
The conference – co-chaired by Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN and Dr Noeleen Heyzer, Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) – aimed to raise funds to address critical needs for the continuing reconstruction in cyclone affected areas.
“While much has been done, there are many affected communities across the Delta who are still highly vulnerable and require urgent continued humanitarian assistance, especially in the areas of shelter, livelihoods, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and health,” said Dr Surin Pitsuwan in his opening statement. “If support is not forthcoming soon, gains made over the past 18 months will be quickly lost, and the window to provide timely assistance will close.”
Dr Noeleen Heyzer also called for increased funds for recovery activities in her statement.
“Today, we are in danger of falling short of our promise to the people of the Ayeyarwady Delta. International support for the post-Nargis recovery effort has helped open an extraordinary window of opportunity for the international humanitarian community to work with ASEAN and the Government of Myanmar,” Dr Heyzer said. “However, so far only a small portion of the total appeal for humanitarian assistance has been met by the international community. If we are to continue our work for the victims of Cyclone Nargis, additional resources are urgently needed.” Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar on 2 and 3 May 2008, causing catastrophic destruction and at least 140,000 fatalities. Damages were estimated at over US$4 billion, which made it the most damaging cyclone ever recorded in the region.
At the conference today, the donor community pledged an approximate total of $88 million, over 85% of the $103 million appeal. Pledges came from Australia, Denmark, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Netherlands, the European Commission, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States, amongst others.
The contribution will be used towards the provision of 17,800 new houses, 40 new schools, 16 cyclone shelters, livelihood programs for 1 million people, water and sanitation facilities for 800,000 people, education facilities to 35,000 students and health services to 900,000 individuals as mapped out in the Prioritised Action Plan of the Post-Nargis Recovery and Preparedness Plan (PONREPP).
“I wish to express on behalf of the affected people, our heartfelt thanks to the governments and peoples of all countries and organisations who have contributed towards Nargis relief and recovery, and for their continued generosity and kind assistance,” said U Kyaw Thu, Chairman of the Civil Service Selection and Training Board and Chairman of the Tripartite Core Group. He went on to request all humanitarian donors to continue to prioritise the recovery efforts according to the PONREPP Action Plan.
The conference was attended by around 140 participants, including representatives of ASEAN Members States, heads of diplomatic missions, UN agencies and national and non-governmental organisations.
Mai Phuong Tang
Communications Officer, ASEAN Humanitarian Task Force
Coordinating Office in Yangon
Tel: +951 544500 Ext. 428