While relief agencies struggled to secure permission to bring food, medicine, and shelter to the 2.4 million cyclone victims in Myanmar, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was allowed to deliver a shipment of thousands of condoms to the region.
More than 133,000 people are dead or missing in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar on May 2.
The junta ruling Myanmar has resisted accepting foreign disaster aid, granting foreign helicopters permission to distribute aid only on Wednesday.
The UNFPA is shipping to Myanmar reproductive health kits which include razors for cutting umbilical cords, clean sheets for delivering babies, and contraceptive pills and shots to last 3,390 women for three months, the Independent Online reports.
A shipment designed to serve 200,000 to 300,000 people arrived in Yangon by commercial cargo flight on May 10, according to the UNFPA web site.
The UNFPA says it has shipped more than 70,000 condoms to survivors.
“We don’t want regular use of contraception disrupted. An emergency usually damages the health system, so people don’t have access to condoms and contraceptives,” said UNFPA aid advisor Chaiyos Kunanusont.
According to the Independent Online, Chaiyos said a total of 218,400 condoms will be delivered.
Aid groups have complained that limits imposed by Myanmar’s ruling government are hindering the provision of vital supplies to survivors.
[Bangkok, May 22, 2008 / 05:58 pm (CNA); http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=12720]