Page last updated at 09:30 GMT, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 10:30 UK

Burma: The aid effort

As the scale of the devastation in Burma becomes apparent, several organisations are working to bring relief to the survivors. Below are details of some of the efforts both inside and outside Burma.


The UN has launched a $187m (96m) appeal for aid, with the largest portion of the funding sought for food, water and sanitation, logistics, health and shelter. It has allocated $20m from its own Central Emergency Response Fund.

Two of its disaster assessment experts have been allowed into Burma.

World Food Programme

WFP briefly suspended aid shipments to Burma on Friday, after the Burmese authorities impounded supplies including 38 tons of high-energy biscuits.

But since then a number of flights carrying emergency aid have arrived in the country and the aid has been turned over to the WFP.

The agency is now working to establish a field headquarters in Labutta, one of the worst-hit regions. As of Saturday, WFP's food supplies had reached more than 27,000 people.


A woman sits with her children as she waits for food aid in the outskirts of Rangoon on 8 May 2008
People are waiting across southern Burma for supplies to arrive

The UN refugee agency has delivered supplies via the road crossing at Mae Sot on the Thai-Burma border.

A convoy of trucks carrying plastic sheets and tents capable of housing 10,000 people crossed into Burma on Saturday and will make their way to cyclone-hit regions.

The agency has also started to bring in emergency shelter equipment from stockpiles in Dubai.


Personnel on the ground have been distributing pre-positioned supplies such as water purifying solutions, rehydration salts, tarpaulins and family kits, which include cooking equipment. Staff have also been procuring relief supplies on a local level.

Late last week, Unicef flew three million water-purification tablets into Rangoon via a commercial airliner. Once the shipment clears customs, it will be distributed by the Burmese Red Cross.

Unicef also plans to fly in additional aid, including medical supplies and intravenous glucose, in the next few days.


Red Cross

Twenty-seven thousand volunteers are already involved in the relief operation under the auspices of the Burmese Red Cross.

People carry their belongings in Dedaye, south of Rangoon, on 7 May 2008
Many people have lost their homes and have no access to shelter
By the end of Monday, six relief flights loaded with shelter materials, jerry cans and sanitation equipment should have touched down in Burma.

One international staff member has been allowed to travel outside Rangoon on an assessment mission.

But the organisation's aid effort suffered a set back on Sunday when a boat carrying rice and drinking water for 1,000 people in Bogalay town hit a submerged tree and sank.

Save the Children

Up to 500 staff are working to distribute aid including food, water purification tablets, plastic sheeting, kitchen equipment and rehydration salts via boat and truck.

So far 80,000 people across four townships in Rangoon have received emergency supplies, 24,000 of them children.

Boats carrying emergency supplies are also reaching hard-hit low-lying areas such as Ngatudaw and Pathein.

Medecins Sans Frontieres

MSF has sent three cargo planes from Europe carrying tents, medical supplies, pumps and generators. They are due to arrive in Burma on Monday.

The organisation now has over 100 staff in the delta region, including 17 doctors.

It is still awaiting visas for technical support staff and coordinators submitted to various embassies around the world.


The British medical aid agency is going to use a 180ft river cruiser to deliver medical supplies to areas of the delta.

The boat will dock in Laputta and function as a warehouse and a hospital, with emergency operation units. Supplies to stock the boat are being flown out.

International Rescue Committee

IRC emergency team members have arrived in Burma and four additional teams are on standby for deployment.

The group has emergency stocks in Dubai ready for shipment and is procuring cholera kits, emergency health kits and water treatment supplies to position in Thailand.

Troops load a military plans with supplies in Jakarta, Indonesia
Several countries have flown supplies in to Burma
India has already sent in two aircraft loaded with food, tents, blankets and drinking water. Two ships carrying supplies have also reached Rangoon.

China has sent a plane carrying 60 tons of aid to Rangoon. Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Bangladesh, Laos and Indonesia have all flown in emergency supplies.

On Monday, Burmese authorities allowed the US to fly in supplies on a C-130 aircraft. US officials say they are willing to deliver more aid if Burma's leaders agree.


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