Update on Relief Aid in Myanmar

May 13, 2008

Current estimates put the number of displaced people at 1.5 million, but the number is expected to "rise to a massive total as assessments continue."  The death toll is expected to exceed 100,000 as hunger and disease spread throughout the region. Yesterday the military junta in Myanmar finally allowed the United States to deliver our first shipment of relief aid to the cyclone-stricken region. Two more U.S. aid shipments have been cleared for today.

However, reports continue that foreign aid supplies are being confiscated and humanitarian aid-worker visas are still being denied by the junta. Understandably, corporate donors are concerned about making contributions. BCLC interviewed various NGOs operating in Myanmar to ask them about their aid capabilities. Here's what they said:

BCLC: Should potential donors be concerned that aid they help fund will be confiscated?

Save the Children: No. Though Save the Children would like to get shipments in from the outside, we are buying our needed supplies in-country, which is preventing this issue. Relief aid bought by us in country has not been confiscated by the government.

United Nations Foundation: Working with the government of Myanmar presents a special diplomatic challenge, thus UN staff are playing a critical role in working in partnership with the government and are monitoring the shipment and delivery of aid to ensure it reaches the targeted people and communities as quickly as possible.

Donors to the UN Foundation should rest assured that projects will be carefully selected to ensure that they reach the intended beneficiaries.

World Vision: World Vision is fully cooperating with the authorities to secure all the required approvals which will allow humanitarian relief supplies into the country.

Read more of their answers.

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