This Happens:

[World Food Program] now has more than 800 metric tonnes of food stocks available in its warehouses in Yangon, and will deliver these food resources to all areas in need, including the Ayeryawaddy Division, the largest and hardest hit of the five major divisions affected by the cyclone. WFP’s $500,000 initial emergency operation will fund the airlifts of food supplies and emergency staff deployments.

The UN refugee agency, for its part, is emptying its emergency shelter material stockpiles in neighbouring Thailand of plastic sheeting and tents for some 10,000 people for urgent dispatch to Yangon. The supplies would be distributed through a Disaster Management Committee that had been established by the Myanmar Government.

Jennifer Pagonis, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told journalists in Geneva that the agency’s office in Myanmar yesterday purchased $50,000 worth of urgently needed basic supplies in Yangon for distribution, including emergency tarpaulins, plastic sheeting and canned food.

In addition, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has dispatched teams to make initial assessments in Yangon, Pathein and Bago, and is positioning relief supplies. The agency says it will work with partners and the Government to provide access to clean water, safe sanitation and improved hygiene, and will seek to protect children and help them return to school as soon as possible.

UNICEF’s Myanmar field staff have started delivering urgently-need supplies to the Irrawaddy delta, and has provided medicines, first-aid kits and oral rehydration tablets to Laputta township, one of the most severely impacted areas.

It deserves mention that the UN is able to do all these things even though the Myanmar junta is obstructing the UN’s inter-agency disaster management team and other aid workers from obtaining entry visas.

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