European Interest

A devastating cyclone hits vulnerable communities in Myanmar (Burma)

Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)

The international community must immediately dispatch aid for areas affected by Cyclone Mocha, said Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN). The cyclone was especially devastating in Rakhine State, Chin State, Magway Region, and Sagaing Region.

Sittwe, the coastal capital of Rakhine State, was hit especially hard. BHRN found that at least 100 people have been confirmed dead in the Sittwe internment camps, with many more missing. Severe flooding throughout Rakhine State has trapped people in low-lying areas in their homes, making it difficult to access help or reach relatives. One survivor of Cyclone Mocha told BHRN they lost eight family members.

Impacted communities across the country are in desperate need food, water, and shelter. Infrastructure damage, interruption of communications networks, and ongoing restrictions by the Burmese junta have only exacerbated these problems and made it hard for humanitarian organizations on the ground to assess the full extent of destruction and provide support. Humanitarian organisations must be granted full access to impacted areas, including conflict areas.

ASEAN and governments worldwide should provide immediate assistance for the people of Burma affected by the cyclone. The people of Burma, and NUG have been supporting vulnerable communities, but much more is needed from the international community during this devastating time, said BHRN.

“A disaster of this scale requires an urgent response from the international community to support the hundreds of thousands of people currently without food, medicine, and shelter,” said Kyaw Win, Executive Director of the BHRN. “We cannot leave their fate in the hands of the junta who has a history of neglecting the population after natural disasters. The Burmese military denied access to humanitarian groups after Cyclone Nargis in 2008 resulting in countless deaths. We cannot let this happen again.”

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