WFP Gears up to Support People in Myanmar and Bangladesh as Cyclone Mocha Approaches

Photo: WFP/Sayed Asif Mahmud/2021
Published May 13, 2023

BANGKOK – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is closely monitoring Cyclone Mocha, which is expected to make landfall this Sunday in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Working with partners, the U.N. World Food Programme is gearing up for a large-scale emergency response, putting in place contingency plans, and pre-positioning food and relief supplies, vehicles and emergency equipment. Heavy rainfall is forecast, with the possible risk of floods and landslides which could impact hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in areas likely to be in the cyclone’s trajectory.

In Myanmar, the U.N. World Food Programme has pre-positioned enough food to cover the needs of more than 400,000 people in Rakhine State and neighboring areas for one month. In Bangladesh, U.N. World Food Programme fortified biscuits and 507,063 pounds of food stock are ready to be dispatched if needed in and around the camps for the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar.

“We are preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best. Cyclone Mocha is heading to areas burdened by conflict, poverty and weak community resilience. Many of the people most likely to be affected are already reliant on regular humanitarian assistance from the U.N. World Food Programme. They simply cannot afford another disaster,” said Sheela Matthew, U.N. World Food Programme Myanmar Deputy country director.

Anticipating interruptions to transport and telecommunications services, U.N. World Food Programme teams are also putting in place systems to serve the broader humanitarian community with their preparations and potential response to the cyclone.

“The Rohingya refugees are extremely vulnerable to climate shocks, given how disaster-prone the area is and the poor living conditions in the camps. We ask the donor community to continue supporting them in getting through this cyclone and also many other challenges they face, including reduced food assistance due to shrinking donor funding,” said Simone Parchment, U.N. World Food Programme Bangladesh deputy country director.

Unimpeded humanitarian access to support communities in need will be critical in responding to any immediate impacts of the cyclone and for the longer-term recovery process.