Four days after Cyclone Mocha made landfall in Myanmar it is still extremely challenging to get information on the magnitude of the disaster and the number of children and women affected by the crisis.
Reports of damaged critical infrastructure, including roads, houses, schools and hospitals are reported, as well as intermittent or total power outages. Telecommunications and internet connectivity continue to be major challenges.
There are concerns about contamination of water sources as a result of storm surges, landslides and flooding in some of the impacted locations.
Drinking water, shelter, health and food have been consistently identified as priorities by communities consulted.
The UNICEF funding situation is critical: to date the Myanmar 2023 Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal for USD 169.6 million is only 11.8 per cent funded.
Situation in Numbers
5.4 million people are estimated to have been in the path of the cyclone across Rakhine and the Northwest (OCHA)
3.2 million people are most vulnerable and likely to have humanitarian needs (OCHA)
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The humanitarian community continues to face challenges in accessing information and in getting approval for travel authorisation to conduct needs assessments and reach affected populations with emergency relief. Network connection and intermittent electricity continue to be major challenges to communicating with partners across the affected areas.
In Northwest, humanitarian access and information availability are main challenges to reach to beneficiaries. Major power lines have been damaged in the west and northeast townships of Magway (Pakokku, Seikphyu, Salin, Yaesagyo, Pauk, Myaing, Saw and Kantkaw) areas. As a result, electricity is not expected to be restored before 19 May 2023.
In Rakhine, many infrastructures are reportedly damaged including public services – electricity, telecommunications, schools, hospitals and connectivity continues to be a major challenge. The latest information identified serious damage to at least 13 camps (out of 21) in Rakhine. It is estimated that 80% of school infrastructure is partially/totally damaged with roofs ripped off and damaged/collapsed walls. Schools reopening in Rakhine in June is therefore in question. Many teachers and volunteer teachers are also directly impacted and have had their homes partially or destroyed.
Concerns have also been raised over the possibility that the destruction caused by the cyclone in the camps for displaced populations (displaced prior to the cyclone) may lead authorities to push individuals to return to their places of origin as part of an effort to close down camps.
In term of the response, recommendations for in-kind assistance seems to be more relevant than cash, according to the community voices, as commodity prices are rapidly rising.