A charity worker who has returned to Watford after spending three weeks delivering aid in Burma says it is "difficult to comprehend" the devastation still unravelling in the country.

Mark Castellino is programmes' officer for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA-UK), an international charity based in Watford.

Mark flew to Burma on May 10, just seven days after Cyclone Nargis swept through the South East Asian country.

For the past three weeks he has been helping develop a plan for supplying aid to the thousands of people who, one month on, remain homeless.

Mark, who lives in Berkshire, was part of the international response team helping deliver bags of rice, clothing, bedding and mosquito nets to the cyclone survivors.

However, an estimated 1.4 million people, many in the worst-hit Irrawaddy Delta region, still have not received aid and desperately need food, water and other basic items.

After returning home this week, Mark said: "This cyclone has affected so many people.

"So many people have been displaced, so many people have died, our response as a humanitarian community is still not reaching all of those that have been affected.

"It is difficult to comprehend the numbers when you're not even able to help all those who are in need."

There have been 134,000 people confirmed as dead or missing. Other estimates, however, put that figure much, much higher.

And on his arrival Mark, who has previously worked in Burma, was greeted with the news that some of his friends and colleagues were among those who had perished.

He said: "To think that there are colleagues within this organisation whose lives have been lost was really quite hard hitting."

Mark added: "It was so unfamiliar. The city looked significantly different. Rangoon is full of trees, but driving down from the airport I saw tree after tree after tree that had been uprooted.

ADRA-UK, which has its head offices in Stanborough Park, has been working in Burma for some time and as a consequence, has been able to get into the secretive country where other agencies have failed.

The charity has an office in Yangon, the former capital of Burma, previously known as Rangoon.

As a result, the charity signed a contract with the Department for International Development on Monday that will enable ADRA to provide shelter for 30,000 displaced persons.

The £357,000 programme will run for two months.

Mark will be returning to Burma shortly to oversee the project and continue developing life-lines for the people in the hard-hit delta region.

Mark added: "For me, personally, I'm very grateful that I can be part of the response. When I left Burma it was really quite difficult to disengage with the work I have been doing there. It was a very intense three weeks."

Anyone who wants to donate money to ADRA-UK's appeal can be made at www.adra.org.uk. Cheques for the Myanmar Cyclone Appeal can also be sent to ADRA-UK, Stanborough Park, Watford, Herts, WD25 9JZ.

n Watch out for next week's special feature in the Watford Free supporting the work of the Red Cross in cyclone-hit Burma.