RSAF delivers humanitarian relief supplies to cyclone-hit Myanmar

As part of ongoing relief efforts for Cyclone Mocha.

Yen Zhi Yi | May 23, 2023, 04:35 PM

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Aircraft from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) landed in Yangon, Myanmar, to deliver Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) supplies from May 21 to 22.

According to a Facebook post by the Ministry of Defence (Mindef), two RSAF C-130 transport aircraft flew ten sorties in support of relief efforts for Cyclone Mocha.

The Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Coordination Centre (Changi RHCC) was responding in support of humanitarian relief efforts under the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA CENTRE).

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan commended the delivery of aid supplies, expressing that Singapore will “continue to support the AHA Centre’s ongoing humanitarian assistance efforts.”

He noted that there will be more of such emergency deliveries in the coming days.

The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) has also pledged S$50,000 in humanitarian aid to support immediate relief efforts by Myanmar’s Red Cross Society.

Cyclone Mocha

On May 14, Cyclone Mocha, classified as a severe cyclonic storm, made landfall in Myanmar and Bangladesh, according to Reuters.

The western Myanmar state of Rakhine, home to a large number of persecuted Rohingya refugees, was the hardest hit region.

The United Nations humanitarian office (OCHA) estimated that at least 5.4 million people were in the path of the cyclone, while almost 3.2 million of them were considered to be vulnerable and likely required humanitarian aid.

In a statement released on May 15, Asean expressed its condolences and sympathy to those in Myanmar, as well as their solidarity with the affected communities.

“We [...] reaffirm the importance of meeting their priorities and urgent needs, especially the most vulnerable, to implement our ‘One Asean One Response’ approach.”

Obstacles to humanitarian efforts

The death toll of the cyclone in Rakhine state has reached at least 148, while local state media stated that over 186,000 buildings had been destroyed, according to the Associated Press (AP).

A local who was participating in relief efforts expressed concern over insufficient aid from the government and international organisations.

On the other hand, UN relief agencies said that internal travel restrictions imposed by Myanmar’s junta were slowing down relief efforts, CNN reported.

OCHA noted that it was still pending access to the Rakhine state and that the “bureaucratic access constraints [were] affecting all partners, including the UN and [non-government organisations].”

Based on the latest update by the office on May 21, a two-week support distribution plan for affected communities in the Rakhine and Chin state will be released soon, though it will be subject to approval.

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Top images via Facebook pages of MINDEF & Vivian Balakrishnan