YANGON, May 25, 2008
— Humanitarian organization World Vision joined diplomats, U.N. officials and the government of Myanmar in an unprecedented conference to address the humanitarian needs of thousands of cyclone survivors living in the Irrawaddy Delta.
One of a number of nongovernmental organizations in attendance, World Vision recognized the significance of the meeting in Yangon, however was eager to see how commitments made would translate into more aid reaching people in need.
World Vision welcomed the government’s commitment to receiving international staff and aid but was keen to establish how this would include reaching those in the Delta and for how long.
“Our response to this disaster can be scaled up significantly if commitments are followed through. We need more access for international staff and supplies into the hardest-hit areas,” said Steve Goudswaard, manager of World Vision’s response to Cyclone Nargis. “More than three weeks on and the priorities are the same. We need to get shelter, food, water and healthcare to thousands affected by this disaster.”
Further details of a tripartite mechanism between the U.N., the government of Myanmar and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were announced at Sunday’s conference. However the exact role of international aid organizations in this mechanism is still to be determined.
“The next few days will be important in establishing how international aid agencies will work practically with the mechanism established by the U.N., ASEAN and the government.” said Goudswaard.
In advance of the international conference in Yangon, World Vision highlighted three key priorities that would lead to immediate and practical solutions to help reach thousands of cyclone survivors:
- Greater access for staff and supplies into the Delta;
- An appropriate and accessible funding mechanism for immediate and long term needs;
- Effective and practical coordination of the aid response.
World Vision’s international staff will also work with World Vision Myanmar’s community development experts — who are all nationals — on building their skills in applying humanitarian standards to aid delivery and shelter provision.
World Vision currently has 580 national staff and 11 international staff in-country, with six staff waiting to travel into Myanmar. The agency has so far distributed initial aid to more than 220,000 people in Yangon and the Delta area.
ENDWorld Vision staff in the region are available for interviews. Please contact Amy Parodi at (253) 709-3190 or Kathleen Brown at (703) 507-1333.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press.