The cyclone Nargis, which hit Burma on 2 May, has caused extensive damage. More than 15 000 lives may have been lost, and as many as two million people may be affected. Hundreds of thousands have been left homeless. Norway will provide up to NOK 10 million (about USD 2 million) for emergency relief.
“The situation is extremely difficult for the people of Burma, who were already living under precarious conditions. It is now essential to ensure that the international community is given access to provide necessary relief in the affected areas,” said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.
The state media in Myanmar (Burma) have reported that 15 000 people are confirmed dead and that as many as two million may be affected. The affected areas have a population of about 24 million. The death toll is expected to increase as more information becomes available and more areas can be reached.
Efforts to ensure that international organisations are able to reach cyclone victims to provide emergency relief are continuing.
“According to reports, there is a great need for drinking water, shelter, food, health care and sanitation. We are following the situation closely and are in continuous contact with the UN, the Red Cross and our Embassy in Bangkok. Norway is prepared to provide up to NOK 10 million for emergency relief,” said Mr Solheim.
The former capital Rangoon (Yangon) and four other regions are particularly badly affected. Extreme winds and heavy rain have caused extensive structural damage. Many houses have been washed away. The full extent of the damages is still not known, and figures may change as more information becomes available. It is difficult to get an overview of the situation, and this is being exacerbated by communication problems.
“Several important rice-producing areas have been affected by the cyclone. I am concerned about the effect this may have on the food situation, as the country was already facing an acute risk of food shortages,” Mr Solheim added.
The authorities of Myanmar have declared the affected districts disaster areas, but have so far not issued any formal appeal for international assistance.
Press contact: Information adviser Hilde Klemetsdal, mobile phone +47 91 65 05 28.