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DRC launches cyclone emergency response in Myanmar and Bangladesh

Loss of a still unknown number of lives and extensive damages to homes, infrastructure, and livelihoods are now surfacing after cyclone Mocha hit parts of Asia on Sunday 14 May. Among the worst-affected areas are Myanmar and Bangladesh where DRC is on the ground working in support of already crisis-affected populations. Northwest coastal areas in Rakhine State in Myanmar and Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh have seen severe damage from the cyclone. This is where DRC is right now scaling up a rapid response to ensure humanitarian aid and protection of people affected by the disaster.

Posted on 15 May 2023

DRC is on the ground and right now assessing the damages and needs among the worst-affected areas along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, close to the Bay of Bengal from where the cyclone ‘Mocha’ made landfall on Sunday.

‘The cyclone has left a disastrous trail of destruction and we are trying to navigate in what is still a very chaotic situation with extensive damage, fear and risk of further displacement and vulnerability. We have significant experience in responding to emergencies including in this region, and right now the emergency response is being organised so that urgent help and assistance can reach people in need,’ says Sumitra Mukherjee, Operations Director for DRC in Asia and Country Director for DRC Bangladesh.

The timing of the landfall of the cyclone Mocha was predicted and DRC has been engaged in preparedness activities on both sides of the border – in Rakhine in Myanmar as well as in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh hosting the world’s largest refugee camp with people from neighbouring Myanmar. However, the intensity of the cyclone and the impact and scale of destruction now show damages at a significantly larger scale than what was already feared. This is particularly the case in Sittwe and around Rakhine State in Myanmar.

‘In Myanmar, our initial assessments and observations show that access roads and basic infrastructure are severely damaged and destroyed - especially in low land areas as well as in camps for internally displaced. These areas already suffer from poor conditions of infrastructure, homes, and access to services. We are concerned that this emergency will be at a large scale with needs for immediate and longer-term responses as people who had already little, now are left with nothing. DRC is preparing to roll out and scale up our emergency aid response and are fortunately well-positioned with adequate expertise and resources in Myanmar – including with significant presence in what are right now the worst-affected areas,’ says Dania Al Sharif, DRC Myanmar's Country Director.

DRC continues to work intensively to account for its staff across the two countries where electricity and communication lines are widely damaged and in many areas still cut off.

For more information, please contact DRC at [email protected]

Infographic: OCHA 15 May 2023

Infographic: OCHA 15 May 2023

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