Healthy baby girl Sahida* was born at the Save the Children Primary Health Care Centre in Cox’s Bazar during the height of Cyclone Mocha, thanks to the dedication of staff who worked tirelessly through the storm. Photo:Rubina Hoque Alee/Save the Children

One of the strongest storms to hit Myanmar in decades has left aid agencies battling flooding and blocked roads to provide life-saving aid to affected communities with hundreds of children feared missing or displaced,  Save the Children said today.  

Almost 5.4 million people across Myanmar are estimated to have been in the path of Cyclone Mocha, which devastated homes, schools and vital infrastructure.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Bangladesh also sustained damage, though not as severe, with maternal care continuing in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp. During the storm, four healthy babies were born at the Save the Children Primary Health Care Centre, with the maternity team receiving mothers in labour from other camps. 

Initial reports indicate numerous casualties, though the exact numbers also cannot be verified due to flooding, blocked roads, and downed communications. In addition, reports suggest that the most severe damage has been done to the wooden houses in internally displaced person camps in coastal areas like Pauktaw, and that many displaced families living there have lost all their belongings.     

Hassan Noor, Asia Regional Director at Save the Children, said:   

“We are still in the early stages of assessing the devastation caused by Cyclone Mocha. However, we fear hundreds have lost their lives, and many communities in low-lying areas and camps have borne the brunt of the cyclone.”   

“Our greatest concern is the long-term impact of the cyclone on children; many will have lost their homes or been separated from their parents. In addition, some may be unable to return to school because many schools may be badly damaged.”     

Save the Children works in Rakhine and other areas and is supporting families affected by the cyclone with food, child protection, health services, education, and access to clean water and sanitation.   

Save the Children has been working in Myanmar since 1995, providing life-saving healthcare, food and nutrition, education and child protection programmes.  

*Names have been changed to protect the identity