May 9, 2008 / 3:47 PM / 11 years ago

UN to seek $115 million emergency aid for Myanmar

(Adds quotes and details)

By Paul Eckert

WASHINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) - The United Nations will issue an appeal on Friday for $115 million in emergency food and relief for cyclone-struck Myanmar, a senior U.N. World Food Program official said.

The appeal will come amid international frustration over delays by Myanmar’s ruling military junta in allowing relief aid in, nearly a week after Cyclone Nargis devastated the country.

"The WFP portion is $65 million for our emergency operation," said WFP Asia director Tony Banbury.

The WFP would seek an additional $50 million to "put in all the logistics infrastructure to support the needs of the relief community" if operations can be launched in the country, which has resisted such efforts so far, he said in a video conference from the Thai capital, Bangkok.

Banbury said U.N. relief agencies were planning and preparing to move workers and supplies to the former Burma on the assumption the government would allow such an international response despite its seizure of two deliveries at Yangon airport.

Banbury, speaking to a panel at the CSIS think tank in Washington, said he was concerned that Myanmar’s refusal to let the WFP deliver the 38 tons of high-energy biscuits that were seized could hamper efforts to raise funds for Myanmar’s Irawaddy delta area.

The United Nations has said an estimated 1.5 million people need help.

Shortly after Banbury spoke, the WFP announced in Rome that it would resume aid flights to Myanmar. The agency had said earlier it was suspending flights over the seizure of its supplies. (Editing by Frances Kerry)

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