Cyclone Mocha Devastates Myanmar: Over 800,000 People in Urgent Need of Aid

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Cyclone Mocha struck Myanmar earlier this week, causing widespread destruction and leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. The United Nations has reported that at least 800,000 people in Myanmar require immediate emergency food aid and other forms of assistance. The cyclone, accompanied by torrential rain and powerful winds reaching speeds of up to 195 kilometers per hour (120 miles per hour), also affected neighboring Bangladesh. Myanmar’s military junta has stated that 145 people lost their lives as a result of the cyclone, but media reports suggest that the actual number of casualties is much higher. The hardest-hit region is Rakhine State, which is home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees residing in displacement camps due to prolonged ethnic conflicts.

The World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations has described the situation as dire, with widespread destruction of houses, roads blocked by uprooted trees, and critical infrastructure such as hospitals and schools severely damaged. Anthea Webb, WFP’s deputy regional director for Asia and the Pacific, emphasized the urgent need for assistance, stating that the affected population requires emergency food aid, shelter, water, healthcare, and other forms of humanitarian support. Although Bangladesh was spared a direct hit, approximately half a million Bangladeshis and numerous Rohingya refugees have suffered the loss of their homes and belongings.

WFP had already initiated its response to Cyclone Mocha by providing advance cash aid to 28,000 individuals in Bangladesh near the Myanmar border, enabling them to prepare for the storm. In the aftermath of the cyclone, WFP swiftly delivered emergency food aid to thousands of refugees, while also working tirelessly to restore regular food support. In Myanmar, the organization has commenced emergency food distributions to families taking shelter in evacuation centers in Rakhine State and the neighboring Magway region. As relief efforts continue, it is anticipated that the full extent of the humanitarian needs will become increasingly apparent. The international community is rallying to provide essential aid to the affected population and support the recovery and rebuilding process in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

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