Livestock in Myanmar’s Rakhine State Decimated by Cyclone Mocha

By NORA 20 May 2023

Western Myanmar’s Rakhine State was battered by Cyclone Mocha after it made landfall on Sunday, with the storm killing hundreds of people, thousands of cattle and wreaking widespread havoc on rural farming communities.

Mocha brought lashing rain and winds of up to 120 miles per hour to Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh, with Myanmar’s military regime saying 145 people were killed by the storm in Rakhine alone.

However, locals fear that the actual death toll could be higher as many people are still missing.

The storm wiped out villages along Rakhine’s coast destroying houses and killing livestock as well as people.

At least 2,000 cattle were killed by storm surges in Rakhine’s Rathedaung Township alone, one of the hardest-hit areas.

A villager said that the loss of livestock would cause huge damage to the agricultural community, as 70 per cent of the population in Rakhine depends on agriculture and cattle are used for farming.

Many Rathedaung residents lost paddy seeds as well as livestock.

“The monsoon season is coming soon. Most of our cattle were washed away by floods. How are we supposed to grow paddy this year?” said one villager.

Dead cattle in Rathedaung Township after Cyclone Mocha.

Photos posted on Facebook by a local resident showed livestock carcasses scattered along the shoreline in Rathedaung Township.

“The number of livestock lost in the storm may exceed more than 2,000 because those numbers are only from 10 villages. We don’t know the situation in other villages due to the breakdown in communications,” he said.

Livestock in Pauktaw Township was also killed by floods caused by Cyclone Mocha.

A volunteer who went to four villages in Pauktaw said cattle are dying due to the consequences of Cyclone Mocha.

“Based on the villagers account, nearly 40 per cent of cattle was lost during the storm in three villages and the remaining livestock is also dying due to the cold and lack of food and water,” he said.

He added that the situation is rapidly deteriorating in both Pauktaw and Rathedaung townships, as the storm-hit communities have yet to receive any help from the junta.

Water wells in the villages of Tha Yet Chaung, A Lel Ywar, Ywar Ma and Thae Khone were completely flooded with sea water.

Now villagers have to carry water from nearby villages and there is not enough for their cattle.

“No water for us or our cows. Our cattle are dying due to the lack of water,” a villager said.

Many farming communities in neighboring Sagaing and Magwe regions were also affected by Cyclone Mocha.

Over 2,300 cattle across nine townships in Sagaing and Magwe were killed in the storm, Myanmar’s parallel National Unity Government said on Friday.