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ASEAN eyes $700 mil. to aid cyclone victims in Myanmar until 2011+
[January 17, 2009]

ASEAN eyes $700 mil. to aid cyclone victims in Myanmar until 2011+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BANGKOK, Jan. 17_(Kyodo) _ The Association of Southeast Asian Nations estimated Saturday it would need $700 million for the next three years to continue efforts in restoring the livelihoods of people in Myanmar affected by Cyclone Nargis.

ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan told a news conference that an appeal would be eventually launched after ASEAN foreign ministers approve the three-year plan beginning this year.

So far, over $300 million, or 65 percent of the amount that had been appealed for, has been received from the international community and spent in the last seven months in the affected areas.

A comprehensive report has been prepared by the ASEAN Humanitarian Task Force for the Victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and is expected to be finalized within the first week of February. ASEAN foreign ministers are also expected to approve the report when they are scheduled to meet late February in Thailand's Hua Hin beach resort.

ASEAN has led a tripartite mechanism that also involves Myanmar and U.N. agencies to help relief supplies reach needy victims. Surin added that volunteers from ASEAN countries and international nongovernmental organizations have reached most of the affected areas.

Projects including the building of monasteries and schools have been completed in the affected areas, but further efforts are needed to fully restore the livelihoods of the cyclone victims.

An estimated 140,000 lives were lost when Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar's coast on May 2 last year. Some another 2.4 million people were severely affected by the cyclone.

Copyright ? 2009 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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