UNOCHA still waiting for junta’s approval to provide assistance in cyclone-hit Rakhine State

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 Sittwe, May (20)

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) stated on May 18 that it has prepared to deliver humanitarian assistance to several areas of Rakhine State affected by the cyclone, but that it is still negotiating with the military council for approval.

The UNOCHA said there is an urgent need for timely, unhindered access to help people in the storm-hit areas, and to ease restrictions on access to conduct field observations and support aid.

Ms. Noriko Takagi, representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Myanmar, stated on May 16 during a meeting with officials from the junta’s Ministry of International Cooperation that they are ready to assist those affected by the storm.

The military council said it had discussed cooperating with UN agencies to provide humanitarian aid to survivors of cyclone Mocha, but the statement did not provide details on how that would be done.

The UNHCR team are currently conducting field observations to help all communities in Rakine State affected by the storm, said the statement on May 17.

The military council has used 7,000 million kyat in cash contributions for the rehabilitation of Rakhine State, and has been sending food and relief supplies, reported junta-controlled newspaper.

However, local residents told Than Lwin Times that the military council had not provided enough aid to Rakhine State until five days after the storm.

“The military council does not seem to want to allow international organizations to directly assist the survivors of the cyclone Mocha. As for the Rohingya community, we think it is better if international organizations or UN agencies provide aid to the survivors themselves,” a source said.

The Rohingya in Sittwe do not have enough money to live on, and is unable to purchase basic necessities due to rising prices, said Sittwe residents.

In addition, families whose houses were destroyed are living with close relatives, and some families build makeshift tents with the materials they find.

A rescue worker from Kyauktaw Township told Than Lwin Times, “Recently, they have not received any support from the military council, and they are in urgent need of food and shelter”.

The UNOCHA estimated that the cyclone Mocha, which hit Rakhine State and northwestern Myanmar on May 14, affected more than five million people living in the storm’s path.

The junta announced on May 18 that 17 townships in Rakhine State and four townships in Chin State have been designated as natural disaster areas, and it assigned 18 military officers from the rank of brigadier general to general to rehabilitation works.

News – Than Lwin Times

Photo – CJ

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