UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said on Wednesday he would visit Myanmar next week to check on aid delivery to the isolated country that initially shut out foreign relief workers after a deadly cyclone in May.
Holmes told a news conference he would spend three days in Myanmar after a meeting in Singapore with officials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Monday to assess the situation after the cyclone.
He said he would visit the Irrawaddy Delta, the area worst hit when Cyclone Nargis struck on May 2-3, leaving an estimated 138,000 people dead or missing. He also hoped to meet Prime Minister Thein Sein.
The United Nations appealed last week for more than $300 million (150 million pounds) in additional aid for Myanmar, on top of $178 million already provided by donors.
Myanmar’s secretive military government lifted restrictions on foreign aid workers after a visit in late May by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Holmes, who accompanied Ban, is making his first visit to the country since then.
Holmes said he wanted to “reassess the situation for myself.”
“The problems are not entirely disappeared but certainly containable for the moment,” he said. “But we want to make sure they stay that way.”
The United Nations said on Tuesday that Myanmar had invited Ban’s special representative for the country, Ibrahim Gambari, to visit next month. Gambari, seeking to promote democracy in Myanmar, will be making his fourth visit since the ruling junta cracked down on monk-led protests last September.
Reporting by Patrick Worsnip; Editing by John O'Callaghan