UN urges Myanmar to allow life-saving aid after deadly Cyclone Mocha

Photo via AFP/Sai Aung Main

The United Nations has urged Myanmar to allow life-saving aid to reach areas affected by the devastating Cyclone Mocha. UN rights chief Volker Turk called on the country’s military rulers to permit needs assessments and ensure access to essential aid and services. The cyclone brought torrential rain and 195km per hour winds to Myanmar and neighbouring Bangladesh on May 14, causing widespread damage and loss of life. Myanmar’s junta has reported 148 deaths, most of which occurred in the persecuted Rohingya minority in western Rakhine state.

Turk stated at a press conference in Geneva…

“The damage and loss of life was both foreseeable and avoidable – and is clearly linked with the systematic denial of human rights.”

He added…

“It is imperative that the military lift the blockages on travel, allow for needs assessments to happen, and ensure access to and delivery of life-saving aid and services.”

Rakhine is home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, many of whom live in displacement camps due to decades of ethnic conflict. Displaced communities have been living in temporary bamboo structures, some since 2012, with Myanmar’s military consistently denying humanitarian agencies’ requests to build more sustainable living conditions in less flood-prone areas.

Turk also added…

“I saw this myself on my many trips to Myanmar, especially to the east. They have also consistently prevented the Rohingya from moving freely, including in the days before the cyclone.”

On Tuesday, the UN launched an appeal for US$333 million in emergency funding for the 1.6 million people affected by Cyclone Mocha in Myanmar.

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Sara is a journalist and content writer who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics. Sara's journey in journalism began as a copywriter, and over time, her portfolio expanded to include articles and features for some of the nation's top lifestyle publications. Outside the office, she enjoys practising yoga and exploring hidden locations in Bangkok.