STORY: Humanitarian Impact of Cyclone Mocha: WMO – OCHA – WHO – UNHCR - IOM
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
RELEASE DATE: 12 May 2023
WMO warns of humanitarian impact of intensifying cyclone Mocha
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned on Friday that cyclone Mocha has intensified very quickly in the warm waters of the Bay of Bengal and could bring major impacts both ahead and after landfall for potentially hundreds of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable people when it hits Myanmar and Bangladesh this weekend.
“It is a very dangerous cyclone,” said Clare Nullis, WMO spokesperson. “It is associated with violent winds. What is especially concerning here in this part of the world is the storm surges are forecast to have a height of about two to two and a half meters above the normal astronomical tide level. This is likely to inundate low-lying areas off north Myanmar and adjoining southeast Bangladesh coasts.”
Local communities and humanitarian organizations in Myanmar are urgently preparing for the arrival of severe Cyclone Mocha which is likely to come ashore near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border very close to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, which is home to the world’s largest refugee camp.
“As you know Cox's Bazar hosts the world’s biggest refugee camp”, said Nihan Erdogan, the Bangladesh Deputy Chief of Mission in Cox’s Bazar from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). “There are approximately one million Rohingyas who are living here, and they have been in displacement for many years. They are exposed to quite a number of disasters, and they almost completely depend on humanitarian assistance. And this cyclone comes at a time where our funding is also going down.”
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), across Rakhine (State in Mynamar) and the country’s north-west, there are already – before the arrival of the cyclone Mocha - about six million people in need of humanitarian assistance and 1.2 million people displaced.
“The expected area of impact in Rakhine is low-lying and highly prone to flooding. Heavy rains and strong winds are also expected to hit inland communities, so away from the coast, in Myanmar’s north-west which are also prone to landslides and flooding,” said OCHA’s spokesperson Jens Laerke.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that in Cox’s Bazar a multi-sector preparedness and response planning has been escalated in the last who days. It’s spokesperson, Dr. Margaret Harris said that “there has been a lot of preparation both in Rakhine state and also in Cox’s Bazar, and just to complement on the mobile medical team – we have also got 33 mobile medical teams in Cox’s Bazar composed of personnel from partners on standby ready to deploy to restore or provide access to medical services post-landfall”. She added that “we have got more than 40 ambulances that have been mapped and remain on standby. This is in Cox’s Bazar and we have identified 22 camp-based focal points to facilitate communication and coordination of help.”
In Myanmar, WHO has sent inter-agency health kits and 100,000 water purification tablets to Sittwe in the Rahkine state where the damage is expected to be the worst.
Also, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has preparations underway, according to spokesperson Olga Sarrado: “The first preparations include tying down shelters and evacuating people to lower risk areas. Some of the essential services and items that are being propositioned with aid agencies, are so we will be able to provide 50,000 daily hot meals if needed.” She added that “certain materials have been propositioned such as tarpaulin, rope and floor mats, and are ready to be distributed in case it is needed, as well as 60,000 jerrycans, 300,000 soaps.”