Myanmar: MSF calls for increased response to Cyclone Giri aftermath

More than two weeks after Cyclone Giri struck the west coast of Myanmar on October 22, the emergency response is insufficient to meet people’s needs. The cyclone caused massive destruction in villages east and south of Sittwe, Rakhine State.

At least 81,000 people are homeless and 40,000 acres of agricultural land have been destroyed weeks before the harvest, according to official estimates. People need food and shelter materials.

For cyclone survivors, this is a period of critical vulnerability. They urgently need more assistance.

MSF teams are working in Minbya and surrounding townships, the areas hardest hit by the cyclone. MSF estimates that many villages are more than 50 percent destroyed, some totally flattened. Many families are seeking refuge in monasteries, or using scraps to piece together makeshift shelters. Most people report having little or no food, and few prospects for obtaining any in the short term.

In the village of Kyauk Nga Nwar, all 150 households were destroyed in the cyclone. An MSF team treated a 90 year old man who was too frail to flee the cyclone, and remained in his house with his two sons. During the storm, a tree destroyed their house, injuring all three of them.

Among the many health risks exacerbated by the cyclone, the area is now entering a peak season for malaria transmission. Lack of shelter, food, and adequate medical care will further increase the threat posed by this disease.