Cyclone Mocha Destroys Hundreds of Homes in Myanmar’s Chin State

By Hein Htoo Zan 16 May 2023

Cyclone Mocha destroyed at least 450 houses in Chin State as well as the headquarters of two Chin Defense Force (CDF) units after crossing into the state on Sunday evening, displacing hundreds of people, according to emergency response teams, the Myanmar Fire Services Department and resistance groups.

The cyclone passed through Mindat, Paletwa, Matupi, Hakha, Tedim, Tonzang and Falam with wind speeds of between 80 and 112 km (50 and 70 miles) per hour, according to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.

The Chin Health Organization (CHO), an emergency response team in Chin State, announced Tuesday that Cyclone Mocha destroyed at least 452 houses in the state.

Over 300 residents of both rural and urban areas were taking refuge in Carson Hall in the state capital Hakha, while another 120 storm victims were sheltering in Strait Hall in the town.

Thirty buildings including a church, a school and a government housing facility in Sakta Village, Hakha, were also destroyed, according to residents, but no casualties or injuries were reported.

According to figures collected by the Fire Services Department and Chin Health Organization, over 30 buildings in Falam Township, over 250 in Matupi Township, over 30 houses in Mindat Township and over 100 buildings in Lailenpi town were destroyed.

Residents said 117 houses were destroyed in Lailenpi, which is the birthplace of Dr. Sa Sa, the Union minister for international cooperation of the National Unity Government (NUG).

The NUG said in a statement on Monday that Cyclone Mocha had killed at least 18 people in Rakhine and Shan states and Mandalay, Ayeyarwady, Sagaing, Magwe and Yangon regions.

No deaths had been reported in Chin State as of Tuesday morning, according to a statement issued by the Fire Services Department and the CHO. They said they were working hard to distribute food and medicine to people in shelters.

The headquarters of CDF Asho, which was located on a site on the border between Magwe Region and Chin State, was destroyed when Mocha hit at around 2 p.m. on Sunday. The headquarters of CDF Matupi was also destroyed, according to the resistance group’s spokesperson.

“As the storm started entering [the area on Sunday night], we had to take shelter in the trenches, where we also securely stored all explosives [when the cyclone was first forecast to reach the area]. But, the next morning, all the tents and buildings were destroyed,” he said on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, mobile phone connection was restored in most parts of Chin State except Paletwa Township.