UN launches global appeal, casualty figures those circulated by the media


Geneva : The United Nations System said Tuesday that a global appeal to deal with the Cyclone catastrophe in Myanmar is in the making, while the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said that it is launching its appeal this afternoon. UN representatives in the Tuesday UN briefing in Geneva could only confirm the casualty figures reported by the media, more than 15,000 people dead announced so far.

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They also could not confirm statements made by US First Lady Laura Bush on Monday that the government of Myanmar did not alert its people. US First Lady Laura Bush, one of the fiercest international critics of Myanmar’s government, accused the ruling generals of not doing enough to warn their people before the cyclone hit.

“Although they were aware of the threat, Burma’s state-run media failed to issue a timely warning to citizens in the storm’s path.The response to the Tropical Cyclone is just the most recent example of the junta’s failure to meet its people’s basic needs,” she said Monaday at the White House. An observer from Myanmar said that the impact of the disaster could be worse than the (2004) tsunami because it is compounded by the limited availability of resources on top of the transport constraints. According to the UN landlines are not in operation due to the electricity cut resulting from the Cyclone, and all other telephony communications are grounded following the Cyclone. The infrastructure is heavily affected and as a result the World Health Organization (WHO) expects that several medical services would be interrupted especially that the amount of damage to clinics and hospitals are not yet known. The Federation estimates that one million people will be homeless in the most affected regions and its representative told reporters that currently 18, 000 local volunteers are assisting the local Red Cross Society.