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Myanmar: UNHCR airlift, trucks reach Yangon with shelter supplies

Briefing notes

Myanmar: UNHCR airlift, trucks reach Yangon with shelter supplies

13 May 2008 Also available in:

Over 40 tonnes of UNHCR shelter supplies have reached Myanmar's main city of Yangon in the last 24 hours. An airlift from Dubai landed this morning while two of our aid trucks from the Thai border arrived yesterday afternoon.

The airlift from Dubai carried 24 tonnes of plastic sheets, blankets and kitchen sets from our regional stockpile. Our staff are at the Yangon airport to claim the items for immediate dispatch to areas affected by the cyclone.

In addition, the two trucks that arrived in Yangon yesterday afternoon carried over 20 tonnes consisting of 4,600 plastic sheets and some 200 tents from UNHCR's stockpiles for refugee camps along the Thai border. The convoy had left the border area of Mae Sot last weekend and driven for two days amid heavy rains before arriving in Yangon at 5 pm local time yesterday.

UNHCR immediately handed over the trucks' contents to non-governmental and community-based organisations for distribution in the affected areas of Yangon and the Irrawaddy delta. Some 10,000 people are expected to benefit from these shelter supplies.

Meanwhile, we have another batch of supplies being rushed to the outskirts of Yangon, and to Bogale and Laputto in the Irrawaddy delta. NGOs and Myanmar's Disaster Management Committee are distributing supplies that arrived on UNHCR's first airlift from Dubai last weekend. It includes 4,500 plastic sheets, 17,000 blankets, over 1,500 kitchen sets and 75 mosquito nets.

UNHCR has now brought in 79 tonnes of shelter supplies and basic household items into Myanmar.

Another flight is expected to arrive from Dubai by mid-week with 40 tonnes of shelter supplies. UNHCR is planning a fourth airlift as soon as possible. At the same time, we are actively looking in the region for available supplies to procure and rapidly dispatch to Yangon.

Within Myanmar, UNHCR had responded within days of the May 3 cyclone buying $50,000 worth of tarpaulins, canned food and biscuits for urgent distribution in the affected areas.

The UN has requested $187 million to respond to the cyclone emergency for three months. Out of that amount, we have asked donors for $6 million to help some 250,000 people with temporary shelter materials.