How to recover from Cyclone Mocha?

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – May 27 Scenes

MoeMaKa, May 28 2023

How to recover from Cyclone Mocha?

It has been more than 10 days since the cyclone hit Rakhine, Chin, Magway and some parts of Sagaing.

There are still many areas that have not received emergency aid, such as food, clean drinking water and medical treatment for injuries. Some of the villages that were badly affected by the storm in the townships, such as Rathedaung, Kyauktaw, Sittwe, Pauktaw, Ponnagyun, and Minbya, have not yet received help, which can be seen on news and social media.

The natural disaster storm has crossed regions with different conditions, such as areas where armed conflict broke out and is currently on cease-fire, areas where the current battle is taking place, areas where civilians are fleeing day by day, etc. The areas under such different political and administrative conditions are suffering from natural disasters.

The storm passed through regions with different ethnic groups, different religions, and different political goals. Under more than one administration, people are facing and suffering under a situation where emergency rescue assistance is viewed from a political and military point of view.

When suffering from such a devastating cyclone natural disaster, it is true that international humanitarian aid and rehabilitation aid are needed. However, according to the international situation, the prospect of getting a lot of attention for Myanmar’s storm-affected regions is not seen due to the fact that Myanmar is governed by a military coup government, and the fact that the Ukraine-Russia war is receiving the most attention from the world’s major countries.

In addition, there are many restrictions on international humanitarian aid groups in the country providing humanitarian aid to the storm-affected areas, making them delay providing aid. Organizations like the United Nations are wary of the military council’s restrictions and political monitoring, and under the conditions of armed conflict, the military council, which has established a four-cut strategy in these regions, is also monitoring with suspicion that food and medicine aid will reach the revolutionary armed organizations.

These conditions are what the cyclone-affected areas can expect from international assistance. So far, international governments have promised to help with the US government’s initial $200,000 in aid and, soon after, $17 million in aid through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The French government has announced that it will provide 1 million euros in aid, while the European Union has announced that it will provide 2.5 million euros for the victims of the storm in Myanmar and Bangladesh. In addition to these countries, ASEAN has provided material assistance, and Thailand, India, and China have provided some material and financial assistance. These amounts pale in comparison to the more than $300 million that the United Nations has estimated is needed for humanitarian aid in the storm-affected areas, and it is not yet known how much the United Nations will receive.

In addition to international aid, if we ask how local political forces will help respond to such a storm disaster, and which organization is most responsible, it must be said that the military council, which has the right to collect and sell controlled tax resources even though these areas cannot be properly governed at present, is the most responsible.

ULA/AA will also have some responsibility for relief in some areas that they can control. However, ULA/AA may still have challenges such as communication routes and safe areas to link with international organizations and receive assistance.

Many local civil society organizations and local charity organizations emerged after the country was hit by Cyclone Nargis, and now, after Cyclone Mocha, it is an interesting fact whether there will be an emergency aid campaign for the storm victims in Rakhine and other regions. One thing that is different from Nargis is that civil society organizations and local charity aid organizations are now subject to more chaotic surveillance, arrests, labeling and punishments than during the junta regime in 2008, and the possibility of being accused of providing humanitarian aid for doing political activities. The other thing is that, as the local people have been actively helping with wars and political activities for more than 2 years, resources have become scarce. Such 2 things are realities of the current issue.