May 15, 2023

The cyclone has raged: But we were lucky!


It has been announced since last week: Cyclone "Mocha" was expected over large parts of Myanmar and Bangladesh. Since Thursday afternoon (11.05.2023; local time Bogale, Myanmar) we were therefore in contact with our team in the Irrawaddy Delta. Su Myat Oo (SuSu, our local leader) was sending regular updates from the Indian weather service. There was great concern that our floating clinic 'Polli' could be damaged by the storm and, in the worst case scenario, that the Irrawaddy River Doctors team would also be at risk. It was therefore decided in advance that the ship would return to Bogale in the event of danger and only resume its trip once the situation had calmed down.

On Saturday (13.05.23) it started to wind and rain heavily in the delta. The warnings issued by local and international weather services for the region prompted our team on site to bring the ship back. It was the right decision at the last second: on Sunday, the tropical cyclone made landfall on the west coast with wind speeds of more than 200 kilometers per hour in places, devastating large parts of the region. We watched with trepidation on the news as it "ate" its way through the country.

It was classified by meteorologists as a category "5" cyclone - the highest possible level - and is considered one of the most severe storms to hit the region in more than a decade.

This morning we finally got the relieving news from SuSu - we got off lightly: Only one window in the mother and child center was broken and a lamp on the ship was damaged. Apart from that, everything is safe: even the solar panels were not damaged. But the most important thing of all: the whole team and their families are safe and sound.

The storm has now abated. Tomorrow, Tuesday 16.05.23, around 5 a.m., the Polli will resume its journey and take care of the many patients in the Delta. Another baby girl was even born at the MCC today. We are infinitely grateful that everything went so smoothly and very proud of our Burmese team who acted so prudently.

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