[Myanmar] The First Round of Emergency Relief in Myanmar, even a cyclone changed course
In May, 2023, a cyclone struck the Rakhine State in Myanmar. This cyclone was the largest of those that have occurred in the past 10 years, affecting approximately 1.5 million people, and causing the death or missing of at least 400 individuals.
Myanmar is currently facing difficulties in providing swift assistance to the affected residents due to ongoing ethnic conflicts. The victims were in urgent need of clean water, food, shelter, and medical supplies.
On June 24, Jina Park, the president of JTS Korea (headed by Ven. Pomnyun Sunim), visited the severely affected area of Sittwe in Rakhine State, the epicenter of the massive cyclone “Mocha.” She delivered emergency relief supplies to over 1,000 households.
More than 2,000 households in the Minbya area of Rakhine State, categorized under Disaster Grade C (the most severe category), have not received any relief supplies so far.
JTS has decided to prioritize support for approximately 1,000 households.
The first batch of aid items included food supplies such as rice, cooking oil, salt, coffee, instant noodles, as well as 6m x 7m tarpaulin sheets to cover damaged roofs. JTS collaborated with a local NGO (non government organization) called Noble Heart to deliver these relief items to the affected residents.
Myanmar government and disaster management officials in Rakhine State actively cooperated in facilitating the delivery of relief items and expressed gratitude for the support from JTS Korea.
On June 24, starting at 10 AM, preparations were made for the first round of emergency aid distribution. A total of 45 volunteers, including members of Noble Heart, were present, along with Myanmar’s disaster management officials.
The delivery of relief items began at 1:00 PM.
Residents, who had received coupons in advance and were standing in line, took turns collecting their supplies. Volunteers worked one-on-one with residents, assisting them in carrying heavy items like rice and tarpaulin sheets to the exit.
That morning, the heavy rain that had been pouring down daily did not occur. The weather was relatively cool with overcast skies as the aid distribution took place. Around 3:30 PM, just as the volunteers finished handing out the supplies and were getting ready to head out, the rain started pouring down along with those typhoon-like winds. It was truly fortunate timing.
Even though the residents’ hands were weighed down by the relief items, their faces lit up and their steps remained light-hearted.
JTS’s support will not end with assistance for 1,000 households. We plan to continue with the second and third rounds of aid.
Hoping for a smooth progression of the second round of support and wishing for the recovery of the affected residents’ daily lives.