Regardless of nation or region, such a very severe storm with over the speed of 100 miles per hour will cause the torrential rains and the tidal waves, thereby destroying the roofs of the buildings, flooding the storm hit areas and causing the collapse of the buildings. In the face of the danger posed by the storm, the government, the Tatmadaw and the people were united in making all the necessary preparations thanks to which the valuable lives of the people could have been saved and the losses and damages mitigated. Obviously, the effective protection against the storm and mitigation of casualities and damages must be attributed to the united strength of the government, the Tatmadaw and the people. The ability to overcome such a very severe cyclone is exemplary.
The State Administration Council Chairman is found to have the satellite communication system installed in the places along the western coastal areas as well as in the Coco Island so that there is no communication breakdown before, during and after the storm. Additionally, he has ordered the departments concerned to get necessary things ready for taking relief measures and evacuating the storm hit areas of the people.
Concerning news and information about the cyclone Mocha, the departments concerned are found not only to have released the storm news but also issued the real-time storm warnings, mentioning the detailed information about Mocha. And the storm warnings are area specific with the colour description mentioned. If it is orange, the storm is heading for the coastal areas in Myanmar, and if it is red, the strom will arrive in 12 hours. At 12:30 pm on 13 May, the DMC issued a warning, strictly prohibiting the vessels from going out to the sea. As the warning could have been enforced and as the fishery workers, the people and the vessel owners have all been well prepared, being well aware of the danger, the casualities and damages could have been mitigated.
And on 13 May, which was just one day ahead of the outbreak of the cyclone, a ceremony to hoist the sacred golden umbrella atop Thatta Thattaha Maha Bodhi Pagoda in Kengtung in Shan State (East) was held in conjunction with the consecration ceremony of that Pagoda. When signing the guest record book, the head of state writes, “May Theravada Buddha Sasana flourish and perpetuate. May the country of Myanmar be peaceful and prosperous. May Myanmar abound in food supplies. And may all citizens earn their livelihood with peace of mind.”
The head of state has made such a noble wish. Such an action of the head of state is demonstrating that whatever he does is dedicated to his country. And I am of the belief as a pious Buddhist that the piety of the head of the state and his performance of the meritorious deeds have saved his country from Mocha cyclone. Thanks to his meritorious deeds, the casualities and the damages were mitigated dramatically.
And when the buildings, the telecommunication towers and the electric lamp posts were damaged by Cyclone Mocha, the Prime Minister told the authorities concerned to rehabilitate Rakhine State in such a way that Rakhine State will be in a better situation than previously when they carry out rehabilitation. I can imagine how Sittway will look like with the newly built roads and bridges as wellas the human dwellings. I will also be able to see the newly grown trees. And the Glorious Lawkananda Pagoda will be thronged again with the pilgrims. It is wonderful that Lawkananda Pagoda was not affected by the cyclone despite the strong winds blowing at a speed of more than 130 mph. According to the estimation of Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System-GDACS, the Extremely Severe Cyclonic Strom Mocha can kill up to about 1.75 million people. And the international media were writing that people by millions can suffer from the cyclone. Quite contrary to their estimations, the damages were mitigated substantially with almost no casualities. It has been said repeatedly above that the casualities and damages could have been reduced thanks to the concerted effort by the government and the people in making all the necessary preparations. In addition, the authorities have been providing relief assistance and rehabilitation. This reminds me of the speech made by the prime minister who said, “The strength of a nation lies only within.”
When the cyclone was over, the government and the responsible officials started to calculate the damages, and provided emergency aid in no time. The naval vessels and the military aircrafts are being seen carrying the relief aids with the help of the relief and rescue teams formed already. These teams are being seen to remove the damages and carry out the rescue measures without any delay whatsoever.
On the morning of 15 May, the Defence Services Commander-in-Chief ordered the holding of a ceremony to receive the donations for the people stricken by the storm in Rakhine State. Within two hours after the verbal issuance of this order, the donations amounting to Kyats 13,181 million were received to the surprise of everybody. Nevertheless, it is not surprising if we look at the two following facts – the first being the economic recovery while the second, the benevolence and kind-heartedness of Myanmar people. Blood is thicker than water, it is said. The people living on the same land, partaking the same water are always united in times of disaster. It is heartening to see that donations are flooding in cash and in kind across the nation. The Tatmadaw aircrafts and the naval vessels are being seen carrying to the strom hit Rakhine State, Chin State and Sagaing Region the foodstuff, the medicines, the personal goods, the household goods, the telecommunication supplies, the electric lamp posts and their repairing apparatuses and the fuel oil etc. Besides the Tatmadaw, the experts and the technicians from the departments concerned, the Fire Brigade members, the relief teams from the volunteer associations, the engineering corps and the medical cover teams are also being seen actively participating in relief, rescue and rehabilitation activities. As directed by the SAC Chair, the Deputy Prime Ministers and the Union Ministers have all arrived in Rakhine State to oversee the relief and rehabilitation activities being carried out. The success achieved will be attributed to the farsightedness, the foresightedness, close supervision and goodwill. I am strongly confident that we can overcome whatsoever danger and difficulty with the spirit we have shown in the face of Cyclone Mocha.
It cannot be denied that just because the Prime Minister has provided close supervision and proper guidance based in Sittway the casualities and the damages could have been mitigated significantly. The effort of all concerned cannot be neglected, too. Thanks should go particularly to those who have been issuing storm warnings in real time. They have been watching the direction of the storm round the clock. The goodwill, the diligence and the devotion to the people the Tatmadaw and the authorities concerned have shown must be appreciated, giving recognition and credit. In rehabilitation, the strength of the people plays a vital role.
To sum up, the Union Government, the region/state governments concerned, the Tatmadaw and the people have been united in overcoming the Cyclone Mocha. We have all to maintain this spirit to overcome whatever difficulty in future. May I conclude my article by quoting the prime minister as saying, “Nothing is more important than the life of the human beings.” “Unity is strength; when there is team work and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved”.