Cyclone Mocha Destroys Thousands of Homes Across Western Myanmar

By The Irrawaddy 15 May 2023

Thousands of Rakhine State homes have been destroyed by Cyclone Mocha since it hit Myanmar’s western coast on Sunday.

Wind speeds of 259km per hour were reported by the strongest cyclone to hit Myanmar since Nargis in 2007.

The junta on Monday reported two deaths in Rakhine State and one in southern Ayeyarwady Region and several injuries.

Sittwe, Kyauktaw, Minbya and Mrauk-U townships in Rakhine State have reported heavy damage and called for urgent assistance.

Around 90 percent of Sittwe’s buildings were damaged by the cyclone, according to writer Wai Hin Aung, who has been assisting relief efforts.

“There are hardly any undamaged houses in the city,” he told The Irrawaddy. “Sittwe’s Myoma market is heavily damaged. Outlying villages have been hit.”

A Mrauk-U resident said 80 percent of the town’s homes have been damaged.”The roofs of strongly built houses were blown away. Small houses have all collapsed,” he said.

He added that the storm lasted five hours and roads in the town were blocked by trees and electric poles.

Residents said the town was evacuated before the storm made landfall so casualties were avoided.

A Kyauktaw social welfare group spokesman said almost all the town’s houses have been destroyed with few roofs left intact.

He said aluminum roofing sheets are needed and food prices are surging.

Residents reported that 70 percent of Minbya’s homes were damaged and water and food were needed and there is no electricity, internet and mobile connectivity.

Magwe and Sagaing regions and Kachin State were hit by Mocha on Sunday night.

In Salin Township, Magwe Region, at least 20 villages have been flooded.

Volunteers helping with rescue efforts said flooding was continuing on Monday afternoon and many residents are missing.

“The rescue teams cannot access all the villages,” said Ma Wint Hmone, a Salin volunteer.

Meteorologists have warned of flash floods and landslides in Chin State with reports of damage yet to arrive.

Large areas of farmland in Khin-U Township, Sagaing Region, have been flooded, according to residents.

Chin State and Magwe and Sagaing regions are anti-regime strongholds that have been devastated by the regime’s raids since the 2021 coup.