Severe cyclonic storm Mocha hit swept through Rakhine state on 14 May, and it left ‘trail of devastation in the Myanmar’s western state. Sittway city suffered nearly 90 per cent of damages in the cyclone. Cyclone-affected people are in dire need of shelters, hygiene drinking water, medicines and accommodation.

This interview with a local is about the level of devastation, immediate needs and challenges of Cyclone Mocha victims.

TLT: Could you update the damage and death toll by Cyclone Mocha in Rakhine state?

Local: We have not known the exact number of death until now. However, serious damages occurred in Sittway, Ponnagyun, Mrauk-U, Minbya and Yathedaung townships. Even rescue teams have not mentioned the accurate number as they are still working in cyclone-affected areas.

TLT: How about the sufferings of cyclone-affected IDPs?

Local: They suffered serious impacts because they have no house. We have no access to some IDP camps. They have not received humanitarian assistance until now.

TLT:  Where are the cyclone-affected IDPs accommodated? Could you talk about the situation of cyclone victims at the rescue camps?

Local: Monasteries and school buildings are temporarily used as rescue camps. The roofs were damaged by strong winds, and that these structures are not very safe. But it is the most possible place for them at present.

TLT: What are the rapid needs for cyclone-affected people in Rakhine state?

Local: The rapid needs are shelters, foods and hygiene water. They could build temporary huts if they get tarpaulin. Medical teams have arrived in some villages, while civil society organizations are helping people. Cyclone victims have not received other aid. Members of CSOs are evening repairing their houses. So, we cannot contact them. If we got relief aid, we will distribute the items to all the cyclone-affected areas at the same time.

  TLT: What did the military chief help the cyclone-affected  victims during his visit to Rakhine, and what  did people ask him?

Local: He just came here. It may be a formal visit. We have not known his pledges for assistance. It is better to ask directly to the rescue teams. People have not received the aid. He visit only the city. The cyclone did not hit Sittway alone. It swept through the whole northern part of Rakhine state. The cyclone caused a widespread devastation in these areas. The coastal villages suffered severe damages. These villages need rapid assistance.

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