PIN releases 100 000 EUR to help people affected by Cyclone MochaPublished: May 15, 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes
People in Need (PIN) has released CZK 2.5 million from its Club of Friends emergency relief fund to provide immediate aid to people affected by Cyclone Mocha in Myanmar. The cyclone, the strongest tropical storm in two decades, hit the country's west coast on Sunday, 14 May. Mocha struck Myanmar at a time when many areas were already dealing with the fallout from a protracted civil war.
"The cyclone is expected to devastate adjacent areas where more than 6 million people depend on humanitarian assistance. The situation needs to be addressed quickly and effectively, both in the evacuation itself and in providing humanitarian assistance," says Veronika Nozinova, Humanitarian in Need's Programme Coordinator for Myanmar.
People in Need has been helping people in Myanmar since 1997. In 2008, it was involved in helping the victims of Cyclone Nargis. PIN is currently providing humanitarian and development aid and supporting civil society. The CZK 2.5 million will provide urgent relief to people affected by this natural disaster. The money will help provide food, water, sanitation and temporary shelter for people who have lost their homes.
Cyclone Mocha made landfall between Bangladesh and the Kyaukpyu township in Myanmar at noon on 14 May (local time), with winds estimated at 250 km/h, making it one of the strongest cyclones on record in the country. In the affected areas, heavy rains, torrential thunderstorms and strong winds accompanied by flooding were recorded during the day in low-lying areas of Rakhine State, especially in and around the capital city, Sittwe, where the stormwater is expected to reach 2.2 to 3 metres. In addition, heavy rains increase the risk of landslides and devastating floods. In addition, these areas are home to hundreds of thousands of internal refugees displaced by the protracted conflict.
So far, half a million people have been evacuated from areas around the coast. Particular attention is being paid to an area near the Bangladeshi town of Cox's Bazar, where there is a vast refugee camp to which many Rohingya from Myanmar have moved.
People in Need is focusing its assistance in Rakhine State in northwest Myanmar, the worst affected by the cyclone. CHWs joined preparations last week when the cyclone began to form in the Bay of Bengal and when it was unclear what force it would hit the coasts of Myanmar and Bangladesh. The Myanmar government, along with other organisations, has begun evacuating hundreds of thousands of people from coastal areas where, in addition to high winds, there is also a risk of water inundation due to storm surges from the sea. People have been evacuated to monasteries, schools, and other buildings whose structures can withstand the winds and are higher in elevation or have higher floors, so there is less risk of flooding
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In cooperation with other partner organisations in the area and UN OCHA, we prepared material assistance, especially hygiene and disinfection supplies, water, food, and medical supplies. As Rakhine State already supports many internally displaced people living in makeshift shelters, preparing to distribute materials for housing repairs—tarpaulins for roofs, mattresses, blankets, etc.—is a matter of necessity.
Our team was on the ground the day after the cyclone, surveying the needs of people in 11 communities—often in places where IDPs live in simple shelters flattened by the cyclone. These people were already dependent on humanitarian assistance long before the cyclone due to the civil war, which intensified after the coup in February 2021. The cyclone has therefore exacerbated the already significant humanitarian needs.