Cyclone Aid Stalled in Myanmar: ‘I Just Hope We Get Help Before We Die.’

Aid groups in the war-torn country say they are having trouble gaining access to areas affected by the storm without approval from the junta.

Richard C. Paddock

By Richard C. Paddock

May 18, 2023Updated 8:51 a.m. ET

“Four days after Cyclone Mocha made landfall in Myanmar, killing hundreds and devastating communities in its path, aid groups seeking to deliver humanitarian assistance remained stymied by the junta on Thursday as survivors faced growing threats of hunger and illness.

Pierre Peron, a spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said relief agencies were ready to deliver food, medicine and other much-needed supplies, but were awaiting the military regime’s approval.

Aid groups fear that the death toll, estimated by some at more than 450, will only rise as victims of the cyclone face food shortages, disease, a lack of clean water and the loss of their homes. Survivors also face the threat of unexploded land mines that may have moved during the flooding. An estimated 5.4 million people in Myanmar were affected by the storm.

Without swift aid, humanitarian experts fear that the number of deaths could climb, as was the case after Cyclone Nargis, the catastrophic 2008 cyclone that struck Myanmar farther to the east and killed more than 135,000. The military government at the time also was criticized for its slow response.”

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT NYT comment:

Thank you Richard Paddock. Whalt a tragic story, without any visible solutions. It raises some questions. Who do the military junta in Myanmar listen to or depend on? Do the Chinese have leverage there? What about the Thai and Vietnmese? Is India useless in this tragedy? Do any area specialist think there is anything meaningful, that westerners on the outside can do? What does Professor James Scott at Yale and others at his level think on these questions? What do experts inside Myanmar think?

David blogs about East Asia at