Myanmar-Bangladesh_People sitting under bamboo structure after cyclone mocha
Photo: CARE Bangladesh

Cyclone Mocha spells a new crisis as needs surge in Myanmar and Bangladesh

May 22, 2023 - Eight days ago, Cyclone Mocha made landfall over the coastline of Bangladesh and Myanmar, wreaking havoc on the already vulnerable communities and displaced populations in the state of Rakhine, including regional capital Sittwe. With winds in excess of 200 km per hour, the cyclone was one of the strongest on record for Myanmar and impacted the lives and livelihoods of some 4.5 million people across Bangladesh and Myanmar. As aid organizations are determining the full scale of the damage and needs, CARE is concerned about a new crisis leaving more women and girls without shelter, privacy, access to medical care, and at high risk of violence.

“In Myanmar, the cyclone significantly increases the already dire and massively underfunded humanitarian needs. The current Humanitarian Response Plan is only 10% funded, and this does not include the emerging needs,” said Dr. Musa Muhammad, CARE Regional Director for Asia.

There are already  17.6 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Myanmar, half of whom are women and girls who have already been exposed to high levels of violence, particularly domestic violence in the affected area of Rakhine.

“Many affected communities live in rural and remote areas in wooden shelters and houses that could not have withheld such powerful winds. Only after roads are cleared and powerlines and communication infrastructure restored will we be able to fully understand the extent of the damage and the lives lost," said Dr. Muhammad.

"We already know that access to medical care, especially for pregnant and lactating mothers, safe shelter, clean water, and safe spaces will remain a top priority for the response”,
highlighted Dr. Muhammad.

“In Bangladesh, we were fortunate that cyclone ‘Mocha’ did not inflict as much damage as we had anticipated, but our thoughts are with the people affected in Myanmar,” said Ram Das, Deputy Director at CARE Bangladesh. “The damage reported in the camps in Cox’s Bazar is minimal. The coordinated efforts of the Government, aid organizations, and civil society for the response and mitigation were truly among the best in recent times. However, it was once again an important reminder to revisit the need for better shelters and evacuation systems in the fragile Rohingya camps in Ukhiya Cox’s Bazar.”

CARE Bangladesh has already begun the reconstruction of damaged shelters and facilities in the camps it manages in Cox’s Bazar. Yasmin, 32, who lives in one of these camps, said: “With the assistance of CARE team and volunteers, my family and I were relocated to the evacuation center before the cyclone and remained unharmed, despite enduring intense winds and rainfall. Unfortunately, the cyclone severely damaged the roof of our original shelter, which means we have to stay in the evacuation center for longer."

"While the regional impact of Cyclone Mocha was less destructive than expected, we remain very concerned for the millions who were in its path in Myanmar and bore the brunt of the damage," said Dr. Muhammad.

"This is particularly critical in a country where 17.6 million people were already in need of assistance while the humanitarian appeal was only 10% funded prior to this disaster,”
Dr. Muhammad added.

For media inquiries, please contact:

  • Soman Moodley, CARE Australia Public Affairs Senior Manager via: [email protected]
  • Amgad Naguib, CARE USA Media Relations Executive Director via: [email protected]; or
  • Iolanda Jaquemet, Senior Humanitarian Communications Coordinator, CI Secretariat via: [email protected]