SAC Chairman Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing views round disaster-hit Sittwe of Rakhine State, gives necessary guidance on natural disaster management measures

SAC Chairman Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing views round disaster-hit Sittwe of Rakhine State, gives necessary guidance on natural disaster management measures


    Severely cyclonic storm Mocha passed the Rakhine coastal areas near Sittway on 14 May, leaving loss and damages, and 17 townships in Rakhine State were declared as natural disaster affected areas.

Chairman of the State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, accompanied by Council Joint Secretary Lt-Gen Ye Win Oo, Union ministers, senior military officers from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, this afternoon, went to disasterhit Sittwe and gave guidance on emergency management, response, rescue and cooperation, rehabilitation measures.

First, the Senior General and party arrived at Sittwe Airport and inspected loss and damage triggered by the cyclonic storm in Sittwe by car.

Undertakings of preparations and current rescue and relief measures

     At the office of Rakhine State government, Rakhine State Chief Minister U Htein Lin reported to the Senior General on formation of the state disaster management committee, holding coordination meeting to carry out preparations before the disaster, opening of the command post of the state disaster emergency management office at the Rakhine State government office on 7 May and similar offices in seven districts and 17 townships, arrangement for cyclone shelters, evacuation of people to safer places in respective townships in accord with the guidance of the Senior General before falling disaster, provisions of relief supplies for the people to do administration and logistic measures, purchase of reserve rice, cooking oil, salt, fish paste and fuel with the emergency fund of the state government, stockpiling of relief supplies under the arrangement of the state government, storage of 17 relief items by the Disaster Management Department, making efforts not to cause shortage of drinking water and disconnection of communication, move of severely cyclonic storm Mocha in passing Sittwe on 14 May and its loss and damage, needs to repair the disaster hit houses, needs of aid and current loss and damage.

Undertakings of ministries, Tatmadaw, State government in relevant sectors

     Union ministers, senior military officers from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief and the commander of Western Command reported on loss and damage caused by disaster in Rakhine State, progress of rescue and relief tasks, and repairing works. They explained efforts to repair telephone lines for disconnection, repairing of Sittwe Airport to admit landing of airplanes day and night, installation of flight direct communication systems, inspection of power cables for soonest repairing, improvement of lampposts, efforts of many electricians to soonest electrify the city, supply of electricity to Sittwe Hospital with the use of generators, preparations to offer rice, salt, gram and medicines to members of the Sangha and nuns, needs to carry out sanitation at monasteries, loss of roofs at Rakhine State cultural museum, least loss and damage at hospitals and clinics in Rakhine State, healthcare services of two special medic teams at Sittwe General Hospital, demanding medicines and water purified tablets, and readiness for operation theatres, and distribution of health pamphlets and educative measures.

They also presented loading of rice bags, CI sheets and nails, foodstuffs and construction materials on naval vessels for Rakhine State, transport of foodstuffs and relief supplies to storm hit areas by car, naval vessel and aircraft, continuous sending of foodstuffs and medicines by Tatmadaw aircraft to Sittwe Airport of Rakhine State transport of foodstuffs and construction materials by naval vessel to Sittwe and then to Rathedaung Township and other affected areas, needs to manage loss of harvested summer paddy in Rakhine State, stockpiling of sawn timber in Rakhine State as well as in Magway, Ayeyawady and Bago regions and Chin State, and arrangements to start reconstruction tasks these regions.

It is necessary to rehabilitate Rakhine State to be better than original situation

    After hearing the reports, the Senior General said that natural disasters are unavoidable, and if preparations are made to face the disaster at a time, the country can overcome it with least loss and damage. Now, the Senior General said that he arrived there to inspect loss and damage for arranging necessary rehabilitation. Since five days before the storm, storm warnings have been released. It is necessary to rehabilitate Rakhine State to be better than original situation.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is mainly responsible for rescue measures, but staff from other ministries also need to cooperate. Public roads need to be cleared as a priority. The Home Affairs Ministry requires manpower and needs to coordinate with the Ministry of Border Affairs Ministry and Ministry of Construction for machinery. Red Cross Societies and health workers in respective districts and townships need to prioritize hospitals and homes for the aged for cleaning. Rescue, relief and rehabilitation tasks must be carried out in parts.

When the storm came, it was found that coconut trees did not collapse.

Whenever I arrived in Rakhine State and coastal regions, I called for the cultivation of as many coconut and mangrove trees as possible along the beach as they can prevent natural disasters. Taking a lesson from the current disaster, the cultivation of windbreaks and coconuts should be extended. A cash donation ceremony was held for the storm hit areas for rescue, relief and rehabilitation this morning. Ks-13.181 billions was donated by families of the Tatmadaw (Army, Navy and Air) and well wishers including monks. Of the total amount, Ks-7,000 million will go to Rakhine State for those tasks.

Carry out rescue, relief and retaliation tasks by mobilizing regional and national strengths

    Tatmadaw vessels are being used for relief and assistance, and most will go to Rakhine State. Road transport sector must be repaired quickly.

Basic education schools for public education should also be prioritized for repair. All things that we require must be done as quickly as possible.

Through inclusive cooperation, we will return to normal quickly. As the strength of a nation lies within, we will succeed through cooperation. We have also accepted aid offers from the international community. However, with the strength we have gathered plus regional and national strengths, we will be carrying out relief and rehabilitation tasks. Seventeen townships in Rakhine State have been designated disaster hit areas so that emergency funds can be raised.

Chlorine must be put into the lakes and wells to make water clean. The  environs of those wells and lake must be cleaned first. All polluted water and debris must be cleaned as quickly as possible. Otherwise, there could be diarrhea, cholera and other diseases.

Although there are food reserves such as canned food and instant food, it is necessary to promptly engage in agriculture and livestock breeding in the places where they can be done.

Chicken eggs will be transported as quickly as possible. It is good to see least casualties despite the fall of a disaster.

So, efforts are necessary to overcome.

Next, the Senior General presented Ks-7,000 million and relief equipment for Rakhine State to the state chief minister.

Then, the Senior General and party inspected the loss and damage caused by the severe cyclonic storm Mocha in Sittwe and left necessary instructions.

Disaster management teams are being formed to carry out rehabilitation work in the storm hit Rakhine State.

Before the storm, 23,700 local people from Sittwe, Mrauk-U, Maungdaw, Kyaukphyu, Thandwe, Taungup and An were evacuated to shelters. Moreover,

626,849 people were evacuated to other safer places. Again, 62,319 people from IDP camps were also moved to safer places. On 14 May at 10.30 am when the storm came, maximum wind speed was 60 miles per hour. But it was 120 mph from 1pm until 3.30pm. Due to the storm, homes, office buildings, and religious buildings collapsed or were damaged.

A TV retransmission tower and some telecom towers collapsed. Till 14 May, two people died and 28 others were injured, according to initial reports.

The SAC Chairman Prime Minister himself visited Rakhine State and left necessary instructions for rescue, relief and rehabilitation tasks.