Cyclone Mocha damage in Chin State prompts months of restoration, call for aid

21 May 2023
Cyclone Mocha damage in Chin State prompts months of restoration, call for aid

Pan Pan/ Mizzima 

Cyclone Mocha caused extensive damage to homes and buildings in Chin State, and the restoration process may require a minimum of six months to a year to be fully completed, so residents will encounter challenges during the upcoming monsoon season, Salai Isaac Khen, Chairperson of the Interim Chin National Consultative Council (ICNCC), told Mizzima 21 May.  

“Currently, ICNCC is working with the relevant township public administration organizations [resistance-led administration] to compile the damage list and identify emergency needs of all townships, with the aim of addressing early recovery needs within a maximum timeframe of one month. After that, it will take at least six months to a year to rehabilitate, depending on the extent of the damages,” he said.  

“At the moment, it is difficult to say exactly. In order to initiate the reconstruction of the damaged houses, the collection of necessary resources is important. As the monsoon will come immediately, the residents will encounter difficulties in the monsoon, and there will also be parts that will have to be carefully rebuilt only after the end of the monsoon,” Salai Isaac Khen said.  

According to ICNCC figures compiled by 19 May, more than 2,000 homes in Chin State were damaged by Cyclone Mocha. At present, the local cyclone victims have to live in temporary tents inside their villages. Salai Isaac Khen said that the main needs of these victims are shelter and food. 

“The primary challenges encompass food, shelter, medicine, as well as the necessary funds and equipment to swiftly rebuild and repair inter-village roads that have been severely damaged. Initially, obtaining clean drinking water posed difficulties, but the situation has improved slightly. Nevertheless, numerous villages continue to grapple with damaged water pipes,” he said.  

According to the damage list published by ICNCC as of 17 May, a total of 1,174 houses in Chin State were reported damaged. Matupi Township had the highest number of damaged houses, with 887 houses affected. Mindat Township had 364 damaged houses, Paletwa Township had 220, Kanpetlet had 112, Hakha Township had 85, Falang Township had 74, Thantlang Township had 27, and Tedim Township had five damaged houses. 

“According to the information we received so far, there are no casualties. We know that there are no casualties in the townships such as Mindat, Kanpetlet, Matupi, Hakha, Falang and others,” Salai Isaac Khin told Mizzima.  

He said that local and international donor organizations willing to offer assistance for the restoration of damaged residential buildings and provide essential supplies such as rice, food, and basic household medicines to the local cyclone victims can contact ICNCC. 

He highlighted the challenges of receiving aid from the military junta due to potential risks to regional security, suggesting that donations through revolutionary organizations would be preferable. 

"It will be difficult to receive assistance from the Military Council. This is because it may harm regional security.  Ideally, it would be more convenient if donors would donate through revolutionary organizations.” 

However, the figures provided by the military junta regarding the cyclone damage are significantly lower compared to the actual situation. On 16 May, the junta reported 165 damaged residential and departmental buildings, including religious structures, as well as four lamp posts and one football field in Chin State.