More funding needed for humanitarian aid in Myanmar: ICRC | Connect Asia

More funding needed for humanitarian aid in Myanmar: ICRC

More funding needed for humanitarian aid in Myanmar: ICRC

Updated 10 July 2013, 15:27 AEST

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it wants to more than double the funding for its relief effort in Myanmar.

The ICRC is calling on the international community to donate just under $US9 million.

It wants to step up efforts to improve prison conditions, as well as assist the victims of armed conflict and ethnic violence, particularly in Rakhine state where hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

The ICRC's representative in Yangon, Giuseppe Pogilari, has travelled to Rakhine, where he says there has been a steady increase in the aid organisation's activities over the past year.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Giuseppe Pogliari, representative for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yangon

POGLIARI: Together with Myanmar Red Cross we are helping people from both Muslim and ethnic Rakhine community to reach the hospital here for emergency and consultation, other colleagues have been helping with the improving water and sanitation system in the Sittwe Hospital and also in other hospital, in another township. Another field in which we are also working is the one of improving livelihood for all communities. One project, for instance, that we call Kashwar project, in particular, in Pauktaw and Rathedaung township and also, of course, we're improving water and sanitary facilitations in some towns, including shelters.

EWART: What would you say is the social situation in Rakhine at the moment, after all the troubles that they've been in recent times. Are things relatively calm at the moment?

POGLIARI: In the daily life in these days, I'm here and there's not been particular really to mention. The situation looks normal.

EWART: And what about the conditions within the camps that are housing the displaced, of which there are many of course. Are conditions in anyway improving for them?

POGLIARI: Well, there are a number of organisations working to improve the condition of the various camps, from UN agencies, to various international NGOs and, of course, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and our colleagues from Myanmar across society, of course. So everybody's doing the best to improve these conditions, in particular, because with the rainy season already there, might be really helpful to improve those conditions. For instance, just yesterday, I was listening one of my colleagues who was saying that it was very successful to bring to one of these camps a number of tarpaulin which were to help, to improve the protection from the rain, and she says they were very much appreciate it.

EWART: The appeal that the ICRC has launched, you're asking for a little under 9 million US dollars to basically continue with this work and to build on what you've already started or is there a specific reason why that money is now required?

POGLIARI: This money we spend for activities in Rakhine state, but also for another major activity that the International Committee of the Red Cross started earlier this year, which is the resumption of the visit to the detention centres in particular. So there was a crucial point at the beginning of this year, the ICRC President visit Myanmar and met Thien Sein, the President and basically the ICRC has already visited six prisons in (word indistinct) and we are going to continue to do it and we require, of course, funds and some of the funds will be spent for this activity.

In addition to that we had in February our first visit to Kachin State in the north, with assessment of the health situation, some donations of materials for the hospitals both in the government and KIA control area. And, of course, we hope to develop these activities and go back as soon as possible to Rakhine, where there are some needs to address. So as you can see there are several regions where will put our energy and the funds.

EWART: Where do you anticipate this money coming from? Is it aimed at particular donors who are already assisting you with your work or is this a general appeal to the international community?

POGLIARI: I confess I don't deal specifically with our donors but I suppose (words indistinct)

EWART: How urgent is the need for this money?

POGLIARI: Well of course, it is important and urgent to have the money, because this helps to fund. We had this great opportunity to step up our response and to be able to cover various regions and states of the country. We had the possibility to address this need, so still the needs have been there and they are still there it's a great opportunity that we have to address them. Given this possibility, we have the opportunities there, we have been increased already our activity, so we need to expand our presence and the main places and so yes, the money is needed.

Contact the studio

Got something to say about what you're hearing on the radio right now?

Send your texts to +61 427 72 72 72

Add the hashtag #raonair to add your tweets to the conversation.

Email us your thoughts on an issue. Messages may be used on air.