On Sunday, May 14, 2023, at lunchtime (local time), a violent cyclone named Mocha, hit the coast of Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal. Accompanied by strong winds of up to 250 km/h, this cyclone, classified as category 5, the highest on the Saffir-Simpson scale, is likely to cause heavy damage. Being present in Myanmar, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is doubling its efforts to respond to the emergency.
Monday 22 may 2023
More than a week after Cyclone Mocha hit Southeast Asia, the time has come to take stock and respond to the emergency. On site, the damage is considerable and it has significantly affected millions of people. The strong winds, reaching nearly 209 km/h, has devastated the coastal regions of Rakhine State, Myanmar, sweeping away houses in its path, before moving inland where it caused severe flooding.
Many people have been forced to seek refuge in evacuation centers and monasteries. Those who have returned to their homes face the daunting task of rebuilding their damaged homes with the limited resources at their disposal. The soaring prices of basic shelter materials (tarpaulin, wood, etc.) make this task almost unaffordable.
The urgency of the situation requires large-scale humanitarian aid. Food aid has already been provided to thousands of internally displaced people in the Rakhine capital, Sittwe. Shelters and mobile medical teams have also been deployed on the ground to assist the population and face the potential risk of epidemics due to poor access to drinking water or sanitation.
wednesday 17 MAy 2023
Three days after Cyclone Mocha’s passage in Southeast Asia, many victims and damages have been already reported. If the affected communities have started to clean the debris scattered in the region, especially in Sittwe, the material losses are considerable. Public infrastructures (hospitals, schools, banks…), have been severely damaged and only few houses have been spared. In the camps where displaced people fled the ongoing conflict, few shelters and sanitary facilities are still functional.
This natural disaster has hit an already vulnerable population. The needs in terms of health, basic items, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene were already important. On top of that, we must add the high risk of explosive devices already hidden in rural areas affected by the conflict, which may have been displaced by the floods.
MONDAY 15 MAY 2023
Damage already significant
Heavy rains, storm surges and strong winds were the grim picture recorded in the affected areas of Myanmar on Sunday, with flooding in the Rakhine lowlands, particularly in and around the state capital, Sittwe. These conditions have forced thousands of people to leave their homes to take shelter in evacuation centers and relatives’ homes inland.
Extreme weather and disrupted communications made damage assessment complex. Many infrastructures have been devastated (roads, houses, schools, etc.) and the impact on the already affected populations could be very significant. Nearly 6 million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance (including 1.2 million displaced persons) in the states of Rakhine, Chin, Magway, and Sagaing – where the effects of the cyclone are likely to be felt the most.
SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL close to the affected populations
SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has been present in the country since 2008 and is working in 14 camps for displaced Rohingya, which were largely exposed to Cyclone Mocha, including the camps in Sittwe, 110,000 people, and the camps in Pauktaw, 25,000 people. Hygiene promotion activities will be carried out to raise awareness of the risk of spreading diseases and epidemics.
Press release : MOCHA cyclone alert in Bangladesh and Myanmar
The NGO members of Alliance Urgences present on the spot are ready to respond to the emergency to provide assistance to the populations that have been affected.