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Community Partners International (CPI) is a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions to CPI are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Tax ID Number: 94-3375666
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On Sunday, May 14, 2023, Cyclone Mocha slammed into the coast of Rakhine State, Myanmar, from the Bay of Bengal. It was one of the most powerful cyclones ever recorded in the region. With wind speeds of up to 130 mph on land, storm surges and torrential rain, Mocha brought devastation to this region of Myanmar and also damaged areas of southern Bangladesh.
Due to internet restrictions across much of Myanmar and damage to communications networks, details of the cyclone’s impact have been slow to emerge.
Rakhine State bore the full force of the cyclone. The low-lying coastal areas around the capital, Sittwe, were affected by strong winds, heavy rains, flooding and a storm surge. The cyclone destroyed bridges, downed power lines and devastated towns and villages, including camps housing 140,000 internally displaced Rohingya people.
The cyclone then moved northeast across Myanmar, affecting communities in Chin and Sagaing states, and Mandalay and Magway regions. An estimated 5.4 million people live in the path of the cyclone.
EU ECHO Emergency Response Coordination Centre Daily Map of Tropical Cyclone Mocha on May 15, 2023. (Credit: EU ECHO/2023)
By Wednesday, May 17, the death toll from the cyclone reached 200 people. However, with many people still missing, and many affected areas difficult to reach, the final toll is expected to be far higher. The United Nations estimated that at least 800,000 people are in need of emergency assistance. Alongside immediate needs, such as shelter, safe water, food and medical care, the cyclone has damaged infrastructure such as health facilities and schools and devastated the livelihoods of millions living in the storm’s path in Myanmar. Recovery will take time and require significant support.
As Cyclone Mocha approached land, meteorologists initially predicted it would hit Bangladesh hardest and pass directly over the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar District that house more than 900,000 refugees in flimsy shelters. The impact would have been catastrophic. As it was, the cyclone changed direction towards Myanmar just before landfall, sparing Bangladesh the worst of the impact but not leaving it unharmed. All 33 camps housing Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh, were affected by strong winds, heavy rain, flooding and landslides. The cyclone damaged or destroyed over 5,000 shelters housing 30,000 refugees, and more than 1,700 water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. Damage has also been reported to education, protection and health facilities. More than 400,000 people in Bangladeshi communities in Cox’s Bazar District have also been affected.
How We Are Helping
Community Partners International’s teams and partners in Myanmar and Bangladesh are supporting communities affected by Cyclone Mocha.
Between May 17 and May 23, 2023, CPI supported the distribution of more than 28,000 kg of rice and drinking water to over 20,000 people in seven wards of Sittwe District in Rakhine State. Recipients include Rakhine and Rohingya communities. Distribution activities continue.
In Bangladesh, CPI’s network of Rohingya community health workers are providing first aid and medical referrals to refugees in need. We are also supporting the rebuilding of damaged and destroyed shelters.
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