Myanmar halts access to cyclone survivors

Published June 10, 2023
A view of the damage caused by Cyclone Mocha in Sittwe, Myanmar in this handout image released on May 17. — Partners Relief and Development via Reuters
A view of the damage caused by Cyclone Mocha in Sittwe, Myanmar in this handout image released on May 17. — Partners Relief and Development via Reuters

BANGKOK: Myanmar’s junta has suspended travel authorisations for aid workers trying to reach hundreds of thousands of people in the cyclone-ravaged Rakhine state, the UN’s humanitarian affairs office said on Friday.

Cyclone Mocha brought lashing rain and winds of 195 kilometres per hour to Myanmar and neighbouring Bangladesh last month, killing at least 148 people in Myanmar.

The cyclone destroyed homes and brought a storm surge to Rakhine state, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya minority refugees live in displacement camps following decades of ethnic conflict.

Junta authorities this week suspended “existing travel authorizations… for humanitarian organisations,” the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement.

Plans for distributing aid to cyclone-affected townships that had previously been approved by the junta were also rescinded, it added.

The restrictions would bring “a stop to activities that have been reaching hundreds of thousands of people”, it said.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2023

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