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Myanmar: UNHCR seeking every means to send urgent supplies

Briefing notes

Myanmar: UNHCR seeking every means to send urgent supplies

9 May 2008

We are seeking all possible means to send urgent shelter materials and household supplies to victims of the recent cyclone in Myanmar.

We are hoping to start airlifting 57 tonnes of emergency shelter from our major stockpile in Dubai. The first load of 32 tonnes of aid cargo - mainly urgently needed shelter materials such as plastic sheeting, blankets and kitchen sets - is set to be transported on a World Food Programme aircraft. A further 25 tonnes of supplies are expected to be airlifted over the weekend on a joint charter flight. The UNHCR airlift will provide shelter materials for around 22,000 people.

More than a million people are estimated to have been left homeless by the powerful cyclone which slammed into Myanmar's southern regions.

On another front, UNHCR is emptying its stockpile in north-western Thailand to deliver some 5,000 plastic sheets and some 200 tents to people in desperate need of shelter across the border.

As we speak, UNHCR is loading trucks with supplies for 10,000 people. The road convoy could leave for Myanmar as soon as this weekend, crossing from Mae Sot in Thailand to Myawadi in Myanmar and on to Yangon.

The distribution of UNHCR's humanitarian aid inside Myanmar to the cyclone victims will be handled by the Myanmar government's Disaster Management Committee and the Myanmar Red Cross.

UNHCR is focusing on emergency shelter as part of joint UN efforts in cyclone-hit Myanmar. In the UN Flash Appeal which is scheduled to be launched later today in New York we are asking donors for $6 million to meet the immediate shelter and household needs of 250,000 victims of the disaster. In the meantime, we are releasing funds from our own reserves.