International donors and the global media have underestimated the scale of the emergency caused by widespread flooding in Myanmar, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation warned last week.
“Having seen the scale of it first hand, it’s stunning that this emergency situation is widely being underestimated by global media and international donors,” the FAO’s Myanmar representative, Bui Thi Lan said on September 3.
Ms Lan expressed concern about the possible effect on food production if aid was not provided swiftly to farmers.
“Urgent support” was needed to help farmers recover from the weeks of extreme monsoon weather that was worsened by the arrival of Cyclone Komen in late July,” she said.
More than 1.4 million acres of farmland had been inundated and more than 1.6 million people affected.
The FAO said the deluge had destroyed about 920,000 acres, most of it rice fields, as well as 36,000 acres of fish and shrimp ponds, and had killed an estimated 20,000 head of cattle.
“Now that the water is receding, we need to act swiftly to help rural communities get back on their feet, providing them the seeds, equipment and other support they need to grow food, raise animals, and restore their livelihoods.” Ms Lan said.
Her appeal was reported by the UN News Centre, which said that funding shortfalls affecting many UN agencies were preventing them from responding effectively to the crisis.