Tuesday, June 24, 2008

DFID objects to Save the Children's aid distribution mode

An unseemly row has surfaced over distribution of aid to Burma's cyclone victims, with the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) voicing its objection about an aid group channeling its relief distribution through the Burmese military junta.

The DFID, which has provided donations to several aid groups to help Burmese cyclone victims, objected to International Non Governmental Organization, 'Save the Children' giving 9,000 plastic sheets to the regime for distribution.

--Read More: here

Burma drops new operating guidelines

The United Nations agencies and international nongovernmental organizations will return to the old operating guidelines in effect before Burma issued new regulations on June 10, in agreement with the Burmese authorities, a UN agency said on Monday.

According to a report by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Burmese military junta issued new operating guidelines on June 10 for UN agencies and international nongovernmental organizations.

But following a meeting of the Tripartite Core Group (TCG) made up of the Burmese regime, Asean and the UN, it was agreed to revert to the regulations in effect before June 10.

--Read More: here

Myanmar: 1st press release of Tripartite Core Group

1 The Tripartite Core Group (TCG) was formed after the 19 May 2008 Special Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministerial Meeting in Singapore, and the 25 May 2008 ASEAN-United Nations International Pledging Conference in Yangon, Union of Myanmar. The aim of the TCG is to act as an ASEAN-led mechanism to facilitate trust, confidence and cooperation between Myanmar and the international community in the urgent humanitarian relief and recovery work after Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar (2 to 3 May 2008).

--Read More: here

Help build a new home

Earlier this month, Amarin Plaza, in collaboration with Asean Handicraft Promotion and Development Association and the Thailand Handicraft Trade Association, held a fund-raising event, ''10,000 baht to Build the Homes and Recuperate the Lives''. The programme aims to raise up to one million baht to build 100 houses for craftsmen and their families affected by Cyclone Nargis in Burma. You can make donations from now until June 30 at the Art for Life Education Centre, 5th Floor, Amarin Plaza.

For more information, call 02-612-5900 ext 5812 or 08-1658-7542.

--Source: here

Family Commits Suicide to Escape Hunger

A three-member family in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, committed suicide by taking poison after they had been suffering from hunger, according to a relative.

He said, "I was very sorry when I saw the tragedy that took place on June 16."

The family died after eating rice that was mixed with poison at 11 am on the day, at their house in Ghaha Gi Line, Plot 11, in Sittwe's Mingan Ward.

--Read More: here

Labourers forced to work on seized cyclone lands

Jun 24, 2008 (DVB)–Government authorities have forced unemployed people across Burma to work for low pay cultivating farmlands seized from cyclone victims in the Irrawaddy delta, according to locals.

A resident of Bogalay told DVB daily paid labourers from Mandalay had been brought to the township in military trucks in recent days by people wearing Union Solidarity and Development Association clothing to work on farmlands seized by the authorities after their owners were killed during the cyclone in May.

--Read More: here

Status of Zarganar and Zaw Thet Htway unknown

The whereabouts of detained prominent comedian and social activist Zarganar and sports writer Zaw Thet Htway are still unknown, according to their relatives.

Rangoon’s Western District police commissioner and other local officials took Zarganar from his house on 4 June. The police chief said they would hold him for two days to investigate if he had been involved in any political activity but he has not returned home since.

--Read More: here

ABFSU aid workers remain in detention

The ABFSU said seven of its members, including group leaders Ko Linn Htet Naing and Ma Hnin Pwint Wei, were among the group of 19 people arrested in Bogalay township's Thukhawady village while collecting bodies of cyclone victims.

--Read More: here

Will assessment report bring in more aid for cyclone survivors?

The report of the Post-Nargis Joint Assessment team will be used to seek more funds to help victims of Cyclone Nargis in Burma, a United Nations spokesperson said on Monday.

Laksmita Noviera, spokesperson of the UN Coordination Office in Burma said they are hopeful that the report of the assessment conducted by PONJA will clearly show the actual situation after the cyclone and reflect the amount of aid needed to help victims.

"The result of the assessment will be used to feed the revised appeal so that we can solicit more funds from donors," Noviera said

--Read More: here

Cyclone affected farmlands likely to be seized for forest reserve

In an inexplicable move the forest department of the ruling Burmese military junta has decided to confiscate nearly 25,000 acres of cyclone affected farmlands in Kadone Kani village tract, Bogale Township, Irrawaddy Division. The idea – to extend the reserve forest area and there is no answer to what will happen to the livelihood of farmers.

"The announcement states nearly 25,000 acres of farmland will be confiscated,"

--Read More: here

Burma's Monks Regroup after Killer Storm

In helping others, Burma's saffron-robed Buddhist monks have helped themselves.

The monks' critical role in providing relief after Cyclone Nargis has galvanized their ranks and strengthened their political voice—just months after the junta quashed the democracy uprising spearheaded by the monks last fall.

The monks have channeled aid materials into stricken regions and turned monasteries into soup kitchens and refugee camps since the May 2-3 storm.

--Read More: here

Myanmar: IOM delivers medical, shelter aid from three delta hubs, appeals for more funding

IOM relief operations, which are now coordinated from three hubs in the three delta townships of Bogale, Pyapon and Mawlamyinegyun, include distribution of relief items including tarpaulins, rain ponchos and mosquito nets, as well as the deployment of mobile medical teams providing direct medical aid.

--Read More: here

Myanmar Cyclone Toll Rises to 138,000 Dead, Missing

More than 138,000 are dead or missing from the devastating cyclone that struck Myanmar last month, the government said on Tuesday, according to an Asian diplomat.

--Read More: here