MYANMAR: Cyclone Mocha was a major storm that hit Myanmar on Sunday afternoon, causing communication problems in the impoverished state of Rakhine. Over a million refugees living in Bangladesh were mostly spared, but the storm inundated Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine, and brought down at least one communications tower.
Cyclone Mocha caused 400,000 people in Bangladesh and Myanmar to be evacuated. Khine Thu Kha, a spokesman for the Arakan Army, said communication is still down, and people are in trouble due to the roofs being gone. To communicate with them, the army is using military technology.
According to Benjamin Small, a consultant with the United Nations Development Programme, the lack of communication in Rakhine made it challenging to comprehend the full extent of Cyclone Mocha’s destruction. With reported 250 kph winds and worrying images online, it is not looking good.
Cyclone Nargis killed 140,000 people in Myanmar in 2008, leading to instability and a resistance movement engaging in a multifaceted conflict with the military due to a crackdown on protesters. Two years ago, a junta overthrew a democratically elected government.
This region has previously seen fierce warfare between the junta and the resistance. This is a major concern as it is impeding efforts to reach people. Digital rights activist Htaike Htaike Aung believes this is a major concern.
Salai Za Uk Ling, the group’s deputy director, stated, “We have not yet been able to determine the extent of the devastation. As long as there are strong rains, there will likely be landslides and flooding, which is why the storm itself is a catalyst for future issues.”