Urgent support needed to prevent worsening impacts of Cyclone Mocha on health and livelihoods

People affected by Cyclone Mocha carry hygiene kits, kitchen sets and tarpaulins they've received from the Myanmar Red Cross in Sittwe, Myanmar, in May 2023.

People affected by Cyclone Mocha carry hygiene kits, kitchen sets and tarpaulins they've received from the Myanmar Red Cross in Sittwe, Myanmar, in May 2023.

Photo: Myanmar Red Cross Society

Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 1 June 2023 - Following the widespread devastation of Cyclone Mocha in Myanmar, it is now a race against time to aid people in need and prevent the spread of disease.

Over 235,000 households are estimated to have been affected by winds of up to 250km/h, storm surges, flash floods and landslides brought by the cyclone, which was the strongest in the Bay of Bengal in the last decade.

In Rakhine and Chin States, and Magway, Sagaing, and Ayeyarwaddy regions in the southwest of Myanmar, homes, livelihoods, and public and private infrastructure have been destroyed. In the northwest, access challenges, ongoing clashes and fighting, and communications restrictions are limiting the ability of humanitarian organisations to obtain a full picture of the damage and respond accordingly.

Myanmar Red Cross has access to communities through its branches and volunteers present in hundreds of townships, including Rakhine, Magway, Chin and Ayeryawaddy. Over 960 volunteers are currently on the ground in affected areas, identifying needs, and providing emergency relief, healthcare, and safe drinking water.

As of 29 May 2023, the Myanmar Red Cross had reached over 75,000 people with a multi-sectoral humanitarian response. Dozens of thousands have received access to safe drinking water, more than 900 people received healthcare through mobile clinics, more than 1,300 people received health education, more than 1,000 were provided with dignity kits, 700 families were provided with tarpaulins to help shelter from wind and rain, and more than 400 families were provided with kitchen sets.

Director of the Myanmar Red Cross Rakhine Operations Management Unit, Aye Aye Nyein said: “Together with our volunteers and staff from Rakhine State Red Cross Branch, we have provided assistance such as early warning and relocation of the most vulnerable communities and we are providing relief aid, safe water and medical assistance with our mobile clinics team in Sittwe and neighboring areas."

“In Rakhine State, we will initially be focusing on the most affected five townships of Sittwe, Rathedaung, Ponnarkyun, Kyauktaw and Pauktaw and plan to extend our assistance further under the guidance and principles of our leadership and in coordination with Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and other partners.”

Shelter, basic needs, and livelihoods are now a priority. Access to clean water, food, first aid, primary healthcare and cash assistance for the affected communities is urgently needed.

IFRC Disaster Risk Management Delegate, Rajeev K.C. said:

“Affecting populations with significant pre-existing vulnerabilities, Cyclone Mocha has put more people at risk and in immediate need of shelter, water, and sanitation services. We already see the possibilities of disease transmission emerging, so immediate hygiene and health services assistance is required.”

Myanmar Red Cross has established communications channels with relevant stakeholders on the ground and is seeking access to affected people in need. It is engaged with the authorities in order to fulfill its mandate while maintaining neutrality, impartiality, and independence from the government. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal along with its members, to support the response of the Myanmar Red Cross, focusing on relief provisions and early recovery assistance in Myanmar's hardest-hit areas to the 7,500 most vulnerable households (37,500 people) for the next 12 months, particularly in the most affected areas of Rakhine, Chin, Magway, Ayeryawaddy, and Sagaing.

For more information or to request an interview, please contact: [email protected]

In Yangon: Swe Zin Myo Win, [email protected]

In Kuala Lumpur: Afrhill Rances, [email protected]; +60 19 271 3641

In Geneva:

  • Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 6924
  • Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 4367

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