Junta asking for donations without spending emergency fund for cyclone victims

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Mawlamyine, May (18)

The military council is calling for donations for the storm victims despite the fact that a 114 million Kyat emergency fund for 14 regions and states has been allocated under the Union Budget Law for 2023–2024 fiscal year.

The military council failed to announce the amount of funds to be used for storm victims until three days after the storm hit.

On May 14, the military council’s propaganda media stated that people may donate money and relief supplies to those affected by Cyclone Mocha, which hit Sittwe in Rakhine State.

The National Disaster Management Committee of the military council said that donors can donate cash in Kyats or US dollars, and relief items to regional and state authorities.

According to the propaganda media, troops, police, and departmental personnel are carrying out rescue operations along with charity organizations on the ground, but the actual situation is still waiting for this kind of help, according to a rescue worker in Mrauk-U Township.

It is reported that out of over 13, 000 million kyats donated to the people affected by the storm, the military regime spent only 7, 000 million kyats on the rehabilitation of Rakhine State.

U Pe Than, a veteran politician, pointed out that due to the large scale of damage caused by the storm, it is mandatory to use the designated special fund, and the donors’ money and the state budget need to be disclosed transparently.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that more than 5.4 million people living in the path of the storm in Rakhine State and northwestern Myanmar have been affected by the storm.

According to the Natural Disaster Management Law, the afflicted people must receive sufficient food, relief aid, and resources for rehabilitation, and the required amount of financial assistance must come from the approved fund.

In addition, the military council’s Standing Order on Natural Disaster Management states that if the relevant ministries, Nay Pyi Taw, states and regions submit the necessary funds for rehabilitation, they must be verified and provided.

“So far, the Natural Disaster Management Committee has not distributed funds to the people affected by the storm, and has only submitted a list of the township’s losses. More than 3,000 houses can be destroyed in a township alone. In Kyauktaw Township, there were many incidents where almost an entire village was destroyed,” said a relief worker.

According to the junta statement, until the night of May 15, more than 11,500 residential houses, 73 religious buildings, 47 monasteries, more than 160 schools, 29 hospitals and clinics, 11 communication towers, 119 power poles, five transformers, two airports and 112 departmental buildings in five regions and four states, were destroyed.

The military council said that 21 local people, including the security forces participating in the rescue operations, were killed, but according to local Rakhine-based media reports, more than 400 refugees died even at the Muslim relief camp in Sittwe Township.

The death toll could be even higher as there are hundreds of missing people on the ground, search and rescue operations are underway, and rescue workers said that 95 percent of Rakhine State has been affected.

The military council has declared in recent days that 17 townships in Rakhine state are designated as natural disaster areas.

News – Than Lwin Times

Photo – MOI

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