Following cyclone Mocha in Myanmar and Bangladesh, the Commission has released €2.5 million in emergency humanitarian aid to address the most urgent needs of the affected population.
The full magnitude of the damage is not yet known as access to the affected areas is limited. However, early reports suggest humanitarian needs are extensive and include shelter, water, sanitation, and food.
Both countries are host to highly vulnerable populations that have been severely affected by the cyclone. Myanmar’s Rakhine State, which was the worst affected, is home to people who have been already displaced by conflict and whose temporary shelters have been largely destroyed. Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district, also hit by the cyclone, hosts 1 million Rohingya refugees.
Additional heavy rainfall is expected in both countries over the coming days, increasing the risk of more flooding and landslides.
In the wake of the emergency, the EU triggered the Copernicus Satellite Emergency Management Service to provide real time mapping and deployed experts to help conduct assessments in the field.
Thanks to previously allocated EU funds, humanitarian partners took anticipatory measures ahead of Mocha’s impact by preparing shelter and food for the populations who would be affected. In refugee camps in Bangladesh, volunteers trained and supported by EU partners helped inform and prepare communities and provided an immediate response. These anticipatory measures helped to reduce further loss and damage.
Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: “A swift response is crucial in the wake of any emergency, especially when a disaster impacts already vulnerable communities, like those affected by cyclone Mocha in Myanmar and Bangladesh. We are releasing €2.5 million in humanitarian support and coordinating with our partners on the ground to address the most urgent needs of the population. Prompt action can save lives and prevent more damage.”
On 14 May, extremely severe cyclone Mocha made landfall on Myanmar and Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, with maximum winds of around 209km/h (equivalent to category 4 hurricane winds). Extremely strong winds have knocked down power lines, uprooted trees, and damaged and destroyed houses.
In Myanmar, heavy rains, storm surges and strong winds have been recorded, with flooding in low-lying areas of Rakhine, particularly in and around the state capital Sittwe. Thousands of people have sheltered in evacuation centres and in relatives’ houses inland from the coast. An estimated 5.4 million people have found themselves in the path of the cyclone, with 3.2 million of those considered as highly vulnerable.
In Bangladesh, cyclone Mocha destroyed a significant number of temporary and semi-permanent shelters in coastal districts. Tens of thousands of families have been affected and homes and key facilities destroyed, especially in the Rohingya refugee camps in Teknaf and in neighbouring Bangladeshi communities. According to preliminary estimations, 2.2 million individuals have been exposed to wind speeds above 93 km/h.
Earlier this year, the EU has released over €43 million to address the humanitarian needs of people in Myanmar, those of Rohingya refugees and their host communities in Bangladesh, and to implement disaster preparedness programmes in the country.
- Publication date
- 25 May 2023
- Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)