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Myanmar: UNHCR offers immediate assistance to cyclone victims

Briefing notes

Myanmar: UNHCR offers immediate assistance to cyclone victims

6 May 2008

UNHCR has responded immediately to the desperate needs of cyclone victims in Myanmar. Today in Thailand, we are emptying our emergency shelter material stockpiles of plastic sheeting and tents for some 10,000 people, for urgent dispatch to Yangon by the fastest available means as a first response to aid the thousands of people who have lost their homes. The supplies will be distributed through a Disaster Management Committee that has been established by the Myanmar Government.

On Monday, as a first rapid response, our office in Myanmar purchased US$50,000 of urgently needed basic supplies in the capital Yangon for distribution - including emergency tarpaulins, plastic sheeting and canned food.

UNHCR is participating in the joint UN emergency response effort in Myanmar with particular attention on the shelter sector, but a more complete assessment of the shelter needs is essential before launching a fuller response.

UNHCR has around 70 staff in Myanmar. They include 28 in the north-western North Rakine state, which did not suffer severe damage, although it experienced strong winds. UNHCR's office in Yangon suffered minor storm damage during the cyclone but is now fully functional.