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Cyclone Mocha’s mounting death toll

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Many homes in Sittwe were destroyed by Cyclone Mocha. (Credit: UNICEF)

Cyclone Mocha’s mounting death toll

At least 500 people were reportedly killed after Cyclone Mocha made landfall in Sittwe Township. Local media reported that more than 400 Rohingya are among the dead, and hundreds of others are still missing. Local officials are still counting the dead. Aung Kyaw Moe, an advisor to the National Unity Government (NUG) Ministry of Human Rights, stated that more than 400 people in Sittwe alone were killed in the cyclone’s aftermath.

The Rohingya were from three Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and four villages situated along the coast, west of Sittwe. Women and children make up the majority of the casualties. Reports state that they were swept away by floods during the cyclone. Almost all shelters in the camps were damaged, and there is an urgent need for assistance. The number of fatalities and the extent of the destruction caused by Cyclone Mocha is still being investigated. Phone and internet connections have not resumed in parts of Rakhine State.

Twan Mrat Naing, the Major General of the Arakan Army (AA), called on aid groups to help people in Rakhine State in the aftermath of Cyclone Mocha on May 16. “Even though the Arakan government is doing its best by using the resources it has, it may not be enough to solve this natural disaster. So we would like to make a special request to various international and national government organizations as well as community-based groups to cooperate closely with the Arakan government and provide the necessary assistance,” he said. Cyclone Mocha caused extensive damage in Rakhine State. Twan Mrat Naing added that there is an urgent need to restore electricity, phone and internet.

Thai police make arrest in Burmese rape case

A noodle shop owner in Phop Phra district, Tak Province was arrested by Thai police for the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl from Burma. She was reportedly held captive by the Thai man for seven months. “She is only 16 and stayed there as a worker. He didn’t even pay full wages to her and even sexually assaulted her repeatedly,” said Ko Thar Gyi, Director of KTG Helping Hand – a labor group that assists Burmese migrant workers  in Mae Sot. In Thailand, those convicted of rape face up to ten years in prison. There are reportedly six million migrant workers in Thailand from Burma with the number of youth workers increasing since the 2021 military coup. 

News by Region

CHIN—A total of 117 houses in Lai Lin Pi town of Matupi district were damaged or destroyed by Cyclone Mocha, Chin World reported. Heavy rain and wind caused landslides in Paletwa and Sami towns but no casualties or damages were reported. 

MAGWAY—Three people drowned in flash flooding in Sinbyugyun town, according to local rescue workers. Two bodies have been recovered, but the third is still missing.

MANDALAY—A doctor from Myanmar Railway Hospital was killed inside her clinic in Paleik town of Sintgaing Township on May 15. “The gunman came with a motorcycle, pretending to come to receive treatment at her clinic. She was killed,” a local said.

RAKHINE—People living in the Tein Nyo IDP Camp in Mrauk-U Township are in need of emergency assistance. All of its 2,862 residents were evacuated before Cyclone Mocha made landfall, but the camp was destroyed. “The IDPs survived the storm, but there is no place for them to live right now,” said Kyaw Myint, an IDP spokesperson.

Two Burma Army soldiers and an officer were killed when they were assisting with rescue efforts during Cyclone Mocha in Sittwe on May 14. “Two soldiers and one captain [died when a wall collapsed on them]. But it didn’t mention their exact battalion and names,” a local said. The regime claimed that 1,085 houses were damaged or destroyed in Rakhine and Chin states as well as Naypyidaw, Sagaing, Bago, Magway, Mandalay, Yangon and Ayeyarwady regions.

YANGON—Eight explosives were discovered in North Okkalapa and Sanchaung townships on May 15-16. “The explosives were made with water pipes and were found in a ditch near the township post office. The Burma Army took them and inspected the area,” said a North Okkalapa Township resident.

DVB reports the NUG Human Rights Minister and his deputy paid a visit to supporters in Australia and New Zealand. DVB English is on-demand via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram & Substack.

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