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UN, Aid Groups to Scale Up Cyclone Disaster Response

28 October 2010 (Chinland Guardian): UN agencies and international humanitarian organizations are scrambling to scale up efforts to respond to Cyclone Giri following new estimates on the extent of damages caused by the killer storm that swept through western Burma last week.

A meeting held in the former capital Rangoon on Wednesday, and attended by heads of diplomatic missions, UN agencies interantional and local non-governmental organizations, named four Townships in Arakan State as being the worst-hit areas: Kyaukpyu, Minbya, Pauktaw and Myebon.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Bishow Parajuli told the high-level gathering that the number of people affected by the Cyclone could now be higher than initially estatimated. UN agencies such as the UNHCR, FAO, UNDP, WFP and UNICEF are already present in the areas mobilizing relief efforts, with several other aid groups now engaged in rapid assessment and provision of food and non-food items.

Acknowledging that ‘good lessons’ have been learnt from Cyclone Nirgis, the UN Chief in Burma urged the Burmese authorities to ‘facilitate continued access’ to the affected areas for all agencies engaged in providing humanitarian relief.

Meanwhile, the Canaidan government is being urged by Parliamentarians to provide humanitarian assistance to help victims of the Cyclone. Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis, who was the first politician to call for Canadian assistance to Burma during Cyclone Nirgis, says, “[Prime Minister] Harper and his ministers should immediately offcer assistance to victims of Cyclone Giri.”

Canada was one of the largest contributors to the 2008 Cyclone Nargis relief efforts, making it the fifth largest nations in the world to contribute to the United Nations’ Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) with a total donation amounting to 39.4 million dollars.

The United States on Tuesday pledged 100,000 dollars towards the Cyclone Giri relief efforts.

According to one Chin pastor based in one of the worst-hit areas of Myebon of Arakan state, at least 2,000 Chin families were affected by Cyclone Giri.

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Chinland Guardian

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