Queen Elizabeth II, Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling and a clutch of Hollywood stars have all given generously to help Myanmar's cyclone victims, but the United Natinons says government donations for its relief effort are falling short.
The United Nations said Thursday it has received just over half the money it requested for cyclone relief in Myanmar, with some nations apparently delaying their donations because of concerns about the junta's restrictions on foreign aid workers.
The U.N. set a goal of $201.6 million for its relief efforts but has received only $88.5 million, or 44 percent, from government donors, it said. Some $51 million in pledges has yet to delivered, the U.N. said.
Funding shortfalls were particularly great for emergency food operations and education, said the world body.
"Funding is clearly not coming in at the rate we would hope," said Amanda Pitt, a U.N. spokeswoman in Bangkok, Thailand. "Funding is urgently needed to sustain the pipeline for food and assistance."
Aid donors representing dozens of countries and regional organizations met last month in Yangon and agreed to provide some cyclone aid, but warned the junta they would not fully open their wallets until international aid workers are provided access to the hardest-hit areas.
The junta promised to allow foreign workers into the Irrawaddy delta, but continued to hinder access to the area.
Humanitarian and rights groups said the government distributed a new set of guidelines for relief operations at a meeting of U.S. agencies and private aid groups Tuesday that could further complicate and delay recovery efforts.
The guidelines require repeated contact with national and local government agencies and large amounts of paperwork.
"The government should be streamlining aid efforts to cyclone victims, not slowing down aid with these new rules," Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Friday.
Other agencies are faring better. The private, Christian-oriented group World Vision says it has raised over $19 million and expects to get at least $6 million more.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says it has raised 96 percent of the $50.8 million it is currently seeking, largely because it is able to tap a network of national agencies in 186 countries.
Private agencies _ which play a large part in relief operations _ raise much of their funds from individuals.
"Obviously people see images on television of people in great need. I think there's a natural desire to give in that situation," said World Vision spokesman James East.
He noted that the U.N. has different sources for its funds, primarily governments. "What governments are interested in is access and accountability _ they want to be sure that their money is going to be spent wisely and that the aid can be monitored."
Celebrities have also played a part in raising money.
Britain's Disasters Emergency Committee _ a consortium of 13 humanitarian aid agencies _ says Queen Elizabeth II and Harry Potter author Rowling both contributed "significant donations" to Myanmar relief.
The committee, which says it has raised $20.8 million, would not reveal the size of their donations.
In the United States, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $3 billion for relief efforts and offered software to help reunite family members separated in the cyclone.
The donations were given to the private groups Mercy Corps, World Vision and Care "so they can go in there and help as quickly as possible," according to Gates.
Hollywood is doing its part, most notably through the nonprofit humanitarian organization Not On Our Watch _ founded by actors Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt, producer Jerry Weintraub and human rights lawyer David Pressman.
The group awarded $250,000 to Save the Children, and offered to match every additional dollar given to the aid group up to $250,000.
The U.N. hopes that funding will increase after June 20, when it finishes a comprehensive assessment of the needs of the estimated 2.4 million cyclone survivors.
It estimates more than 1 million survivors, mostly in the delta, still need help more than five weeks after the cyclone. The May 2-3 storm killed more than 78,000 people and left 56,000 missing, according to the government.
(This version CORRECTS AMs. UPDATES with Human Rights Watch criticizing new government guidelines; corrects amount UN has received in graf)