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Myanmar cyclone damage estimated at $4 billion
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    SINGAPORE — Survivors of Myanmar’s Cyclone Nargis face a ‘‘second emergency’’ unless relief efforts receive an influx of $1 billion in international aid over the next three years, according to the first full assessment of the disaster released Monday.
    The joint report by the U.N., the Myanmar government and Southeast Asia’s main bloc provides for the first time a comprehensive breakdown of the survivors’ needs in the aftermath of the May 2-3 disaster — details foreign donors have demanded as a condition for aid.
    The report puts the damage from the cyclone that devastated the Irrawaddy delta and parts of Yangon at $4 billion. Infrastructure and asset losses amounted to about $1.7 billion and loss of income was estimated at $2.3 billion.
    It paints a dismal picture of the impact of the storm, which killed at least 84,537 people. Another 53,836 are missing and presumed dead.
    A wall of water destroyed 450,000 homes and damaged 350,000, the report said. About 75 percent of health facilities were damaged, as were 4,000 or more schools.
    In mid-June, 55 percent of survivors had rations enough for only one day or less.
    ‘‘It was a tragedy of immense proportions,’’ Surin Pitsuwan, the secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, told a news conference at which the report was released.
    Though filled with grim statistics, the report makes no mention of the junta’s slow response to the disaster.
    During the first week following the storm, pictures of bodies floating in the water amid reports that soldiers were standing idly by horrified people around the world. The junta stalled in accepting international aid and even physically prevented relief workers from going to the hardest hit areas.
    Many in the international community lashed out at the Myanmar government for its response, while also trying to cajole the leaders into opening up to aid.
    The United Nations’ humanitarian chief, John Holmes, noted that while Myanmar eventually cooperated with the U.N. in humanitarian operations, it was unclear how far that cooperation would extend beyond the storm response.
    ‘‘I don’t think anyone can say that the Myanmar government is a poster child in international cooperation beyond this narrow field of humanitarian assistance,’’ he said.
    Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo, who chaired the news conference where the aid assessment was released, refused to allow an Associated Press reporter to ask Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win whether the junta felt that many lives could have been saved had it acted differently.
    Yeo said that while ‘‘political questions’’ were relevant, the news conference was only about the assessment report.
    Members of ASEAN, the region’s main bloc, usually stick to a policy of not interfering in each other’s domestic affairs. But ASEAN foreign ministers wrapped up their annual meeting Monday with their strongest-ever public criticism of Myanmar.
    The joint statement expressed ‘‘deep disappointment’’ that the country’s junta had yet to free pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest. The junta extended Suu Kyi’s detention in May by another year, the sixth straight year that she has remained under house arrest in her dilapidated villa.
    Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962. The current junta came to power in 1988 after crushing a pro-democracy movement. It has kept Suu Kyi in detention for 12 of the last 18 years at varying times.
    Myanmar is one of the world’s 20 poorest countries with an annual per capita income of $200, and the country’s gross domestic product for 2008 is expected to fall 2.7 percent in the wake of the storm. The destruction of farmland is at least partially responsible: About 1.5 million acres of farmland were wiped out, along with most of the country’s agricultural implements.
    ‘‘The task ahead is clearly enormous and will take a lot of time, a lot of effort,’’ said Surin.
    He said at least $1 billion in international aid is needed for humanitarian relief efforts over the next three years.
    Puji Pujiono, a recovery assessment specialist in the ASEAN assessment team, cited food, shelter, water and sanitation as key priorities.
    ‘‘The worst of the crisis is over but we are still in a state of emergency. People live in a very precarious condition now. If we fail to sustain the recovery efforts, they may face a second emergency,’’ he told the Associated Press.
    Holmes said he hoped the report would allay donors’ fears.
    At a donor conference after the cyclone, participants demanded full access to storm-hit areas and an independent assessment of needs to ensure it was not being wasted or stolen, in light of the junta’s initial insistence on full control over international aid shipments.
    ‘‘It is important to have a report of this quality to assure donors that resources are being well spent ... and that future assistance is fully justified,’’ Holmes said, appealing to donors to ‘‘continue to be generous.’’
    He said the U.N. had appealed for $482 million in immediate assistance but is still short $300 million.
    Associated Press writers Eileen Ng and Jim Gomez contributed to this report.

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