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UNHCR trucks arrive in Yangon with shelter aid for 10,000 people

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UNHCR trucks arrive in Yangon with shelter aid for 10,000 people

12 May 2008

Monday, 12 May 2008

YANGON, Myanmar, May 12 - The first UN aid convoy by land arrived Monday afternoon in Myanmar's main city of Yangon with shelter supplies for immediate distribution to some 10,000 victims of Cyclone Nargis.

The two trucks had left the Thai border town of Mae Sot on Saturday afternoon with over 20 tonnes of tents and plastic sheets from the UN refugee agency's stockpiles for refugees along the Thai-Myanmar border. The convoy arrived in Yangon around 5 pm local time on Monday amid heavy rains. Accompanied by a UNHCR staffer, it had travelled for two days by road. Along the way, it had to overnight in Hpa-An due to the bad weather.

In Yangon, UNHCR is handing over the trucks' contents - 4,600 plastic sheets and some 200 tents - to non-governmental organisations to be distributed immediately to areas affected by the cyclone.

"I'm very happy that the trucks arrived smoothly despite the storms," said Marc Rapoport, who runs the UNHCR office in Yangon. "We're assessing the road conditions with the other agencies to see if this is a viable route for future aid deliveries from Thailand, in consultation with the authorities."

The land convoy is the second batch of emergency relief to arrive in Myanmar from UNHCR's stockpiles in the region. Last Saturday, a flight landed in Yangon carrying 4,500 plastic sheets, 17,000 blankets, over 1,500 kitchen sets and 75 mosquito nets from the refugee agency's stocks in Dubai. These supplies are being distributed by NGOs and Myanmar's Disaster Management Committee in affected areas on the outskirts of Yangon, and in Bogale and Laputto in the Irrawaddy delta, which bore the brunt of the May 3 cyclone.

Another two flights are expected to arrive from Dubai by mid-week with over 60 tonnes of shelter supplies.

Out of the $187 million requested by the UN to respond to the emergency for three months, UNHCR has asked donors for $6 million to help some 250,000 people with temporary shelter materials.