More than one year since the devastating Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar, shelter provision for the victims still remains a huge challenge, UN-HABITAT says.
The Cyclone killed some 140,000 people and left around 2.4 million others destitute. Since then, shelter remains severely under-funded and most families have rebuilt their own homes. The Post-Nargis Periodic Review III report, prepared by the Tripartite Core Group (TCG), said that in mid-January 2010, over 100,000 households - around half a million people - were living in poor shelters that will not withstand another disaster.
The TCG is made up of the regional bloc Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Myanmar government and the United Nations. Mr. Srinivasa Popuri, head of the UN-HABITAT team in Myanmar said: "In the case of shelter, every dry day is valuable."
Despite heavy damage - according to an earlier TCG report, almost 800,000 homes were destroyed or damaged - donors have been consistently reluctant to fund it. Part of the reason is the perception among donors that housing is the responsibility of the government; most donors want to avoid being seen to be subsidising Myanmar's military regime.
Last November, following the public appeal – which accumulated USD 103 million – international donors pledged USD 88 million. However, Mr. Popuri revealed that only one donor pledged a sum for shelter: USD 250,000. The Myanmar government has funded 30,000 homes at a cost of $1,400 each, most of them built by private companies. Mr. Popuri says that, in addition, aid agencies have so far built 37,000 new houses, costing between $600 and $800 each.
The latest TCG figures show that 84 per cent of households say their homes are hotter, wetter and/or more crowded than they were before the Nargis disaster. "Much of the credit goes to the people of Delta themselves, who are so resilient (albeit not by choice), who are still suffering and without any complaints," Popuri said.
The Periodic Review III is an assessment of needs based on interviews with 1,400 households in 30 townships in the Irrawaddy and Yangon Divisions.