YANGON – Cyclone Giri victims from Rakhine State, western Myanmar, are still suffering hardship nearly two months after the storm hit.

The Catholic Church, NGOs and other associations say they hope people will help through the Giri Relief Committee in the season of giving.

The committee, based in Rakhine State on the Thai-Myanmar border, said in their Christmas appeal that survivors from the Oct 22 cyclone are still in need of water, food and shelter.

The UN estimates that almost US$53 million (S$70 million) of aid is needed but only US$18 million have been pledged by international donors.

Mr Francis Lampart, project director of Karuna Pyay Social Service (KPSS), the Myanmar Church’s social service, says his organisation as been distributing food and other aid to 18 villages in Myaebon and 13 villages in Minbya townships.
The damage to transportation and communication are major challenges in distribution efforts, said a KPSS project officer.

A UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report says 45 people are dead or missing, 101,923 are homeless with 20,380 houses destroyed and 260,000 people (52,000 households) have been affected.

Mr Khin Maung Win, from Pin-khar village, said he and others in the area had received food and basic items from the Church. “We have to rely on donors for food especially rice,” he said.

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