Burma cyclone survivors still in need, says Christian Aid

Three months after Cyclone Nargis hit Burma some survivors have still received little aid.

Christian Aid, through its local partners, has been able to help 200,000 people with food, shelter, medicine and clean water.

However much more needs to be done and Christian Aid partners are still finding people who need urgent assistance.

One partner received a request in July for emergency food support for more than 50,000 people in 59 villages which are inland and inaccessible by boat. Very little help had reached them until then.

Rebuilding homes and getting farmers back to work are the urgent priorities for Christian Aid partners working in cyclone-hit areas of Burma.

Christian Aid is providing shelter materials for 180,000 people, trauma counselling for more than 150,000 people, water storage containers and purifying chemicals for around 100,000 people and medical and first aid treatment for 50,000 people

One partner specialising in disability is also providing shelter and mobility aids for up to 3,000 disabled adults and children. Another partner is building or repairing 49 childcare centres which were damaged in the storm which struck on May 2.

"There is a lot of good work going on and aid continues to get through to cyclone-hit areas especially from local organisations who are managing to help hundreds of thousands of people in extremely challenging circumstances," said Ray Hasan, Christian Aid's Burma expert.

"But it is now three months since the cyclone hit and it is widely accepted that many people have yet to receive any significant support. The responsibility for this lies with the regime and the hurdles that it continues to place in front of aid agencies. The regime must get fully behind the humanitarian aid effort and remove all barriers for agencies working on the ground."

Many of the 2.5 million people affected by the cyclone are dependent on aid because their source of income has been destroyed. Others are having to take out loans in order to rebuild their homes. One man, Saw Han, told Christian Aid that he had taken out a loan of 200,000 kyat (about £180) for food and building materials.

As a condition for getting the loan Saw Han has to work for the lender until it is paid back. He gets no salary, just one meal a day. If he does not repay the debt in one year he will have to continue to work with the lender for the following year.

A Christian Aid partner is now working in his village and his family received a relief parcel which included blankets, a mosquito net and cooking containers.

"We were not in a position to buy the things we needed. Now we have containers to cook in and my children can sleep well," he said.