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UK Announces Extra £12m For Burma Cyclone Victims

Department For International Development (UK)

UK announces extra £12m to help Cyclone victims in Burma

The Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander today announced an extra £12 million to finance the UK's humanitarian response to Cyclone Nargis. This new allocation is in addition to the initial contribution of £5 million announced last week, and brings the UK's overall support to £17 million so far.

Douglas Alexander said:

"The lives of many hundreds of thousands of people are at stake. We know that people are lacking the basics such as clean drinking water, food and healthcare. This additional £12 million will allow humanitarian teams on the ground to continue to deliver emergency assistance.

"The key priority is to deliver humanitarian aid as quickly as possible. The clock is ticking. This contribution shows our commitment to supporting the people of Burma. We will work to reach them, however difficult it is to get aid through to them.

"I reiterate our call on the Burmese authorities to grant full and unfettered access for international assistance. This is the key challenge if we are to save thousands of lives over the coming days.

"Our initial £5 million contribution is already making a difference to the people in Burma. We have already provided shelter for 43,000 people which has arrived in Rangoon and is being distributed by the UN. Fourteen flat-bottomed boats will arrive tomorrow and will be used to get much needed aid into the Irrawaddy Delta. More UK relief flights will follow"

So far, more than £4.6m has been allocated to aid agencies and this money is expected to help more than 372,500 people affected by the cyclone in the Irrawaddy Delta, providing clean fresh drinking water, sanitation facilities, basic healthcare and emergency shelter.

Initial commitments that have been made to aid agencies include:

- Over £1.1 million for Save the Children to help 125,000 people by providing clean water supplies, food and non-food items in the townships of Napudaw, Myaungmya, Mawlamyinegyun, Kyaiklat and Pyapon, in the Irrawaddy Delta

- Up to £1m for Action Against Hunger to help 37,500 people by providing clean, safe water, sanitation and hygiene, access to food and non-food items in Bogale Township, Irrawaddy Division

- £700,000 for Care to help 60,000 people by providing food, clean water and sanitation and emergency shelter in the townships of Pathein, East Dagon and Thaketa, near Rangoon

- £500,000 for Medecins Sans Frontieres to help 100,000 people by providing basic medical care, clean water and sanitation and emergency shelter

- Over £700,000 for Merlin to help 50,000 people by providing emergency healthcare in the Laputta township, in the Irrawaddy Delta

- Over £450,000 to the British Red Cross to support logistical operations

A total of £7m (approx $14m) of the new money announced today will be allocated to the UN Flash Appeal, launched on May 9. Of this, a total of £5m (approx $10m), will go immediately to the World Food Programme to provide urgent logistical support for the growing relief operation.

A further £5m of this new allocation is will be used to provide logistical and relief supplies. Two more UK flights containing more emergency shelter and flat-bottomed boats are due to arrive in Rangoon tomorrow. Further flights will follow.

Notes to Editors

1. Three further UK aid flights are planned to depart in the next 72 hours. Departure times/dates to be confirmed in accordance with landing clearances.

2. Daily updates on the response to Cyclone Nargis are posted on the DFID website http://www.dfid.gov.uk

3. Cyclone Nargis developed in the Bay of Bengal during the week 28 April to 2 May. It made landfall on 2 May as a Category 3 cyclone in the Irrawaddy delta region, approximately 250 km southwest of Rangoon. The storm then tracked inland, directly hitting the capital itself late the same night. Current estimates of dead and missing are over 200,000, with more than 1.5 million people in need of emergency assistance.

4. For further information visit the DFID website http://www.dfid.gov.uk

COI ref 160900P

ENDS

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