Geneva : The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) launched an initial appeal Wednesday for $6 million to provide emergency aid in Myanmar.
“The scale of this disaster really can’t be underestimated,” the Asia-Pacific coordinator for the IFRC, Christine South, said in a statement issued in Geneva.
The latest official death toll puts the number of dead at more than 22,000 people after Cyclone Nargis tore across the south of the country at the weekend.
An estimated 24 million people, half the country’s population, are thought to be affected. The Red Cross called it the country’s deadliest storm since 1991.
“This will be very much a preliminary emergency appeal, and we expect this figure and the operation to be revised as more information comes to hand,” added South.
Thousands of Red Cross volunteers were already working around the clock to reach and support victims.
The appeal money would be used to provide emergency shelter kits, water and mosquito nets.
“More than one million people may be displaced because of the storm,” IFRC spokesman in Kuala Lumpur John Sparrow said.
In some affected villages along the Irrawaddy river delta, 95 percent of houses had been destroyed whilst in Yangon, access to running water and electricity had been severely limited, according to the Red Cross.