Bangladesh, Myanmar on alert after powerful Cyclone Mocha makes landfall

Dhaka – Bangladesh and Myanmar braced for a severe cyclone that began hitting coastal areas on Sunday, with authorities urging thousands of people in both countries to evacuate.

The outermost band of Cyclone Mocha reached the coast of Myanmar’s Rakhine State on Sunday morning with winds of 180-190 kph (112-118 mph) and gusts of up to 210 kph (130 mph). . The Myanmar Meteorological Department said on Sunday that the center of the storm was expected to make landfall near Sittwe township by afternoon and a top-level weather warning had been issued.

Of Sittwe’s 300,000 inhabitants, more than 4,000 have fled to other cities since Friday, and more than 20,000 are in the city, according to Tin Nyein Oo, who helps people in Sittwe’s shelter. They are said to have taken refuge in sturdy buildings such as monasteries, towers and schools in highlands. Sittwe.

He added that many locals live in areas higher than 3 meters above sea level, where they believe storm surges will never reach them.

“We haven’t had a storm yet, so it won’t be too difficult. But there are too many people in the shelters and not enough toilets,” he added.

Ling Ling, director of the local charity foundation, earlier said there was not enough food in Sittwe shelters because more people had arrived than expected.

Several deaths were reported in Myanmar on Sunday morning due to wind and rain. Rescue teams in the eastern Shan state said on their Facebook social media pages that they had recovered the bodies of a couple buried after heavy rain-induced landslides hit their home in Tachileik county. Local media reported that a man was crushed to death after a banyan tree fell in Pyin Oo Lwin Township, central Mandalay Region. In Sittwe, a mobile phone tower collapsed in strong winds and other buildings were damaged, local media reported.

The weather remained sunny and humid in most parts of Bangladesh on Sunday morning.

UN agencies and aid workers in Bangladesh have deployed dozens of vehicles carrying large amounts of dry food and mobile medical teams to sprawling refugee camps housing more than one million Rohingyas fleeing persecution in Myanmar. Pre-arranged an ambulance.

Myanmar’s United Nations Development Program Representative, Thitung Mitra, said: “Mocha has landed. Two million people are at risk. The damage and losses are expected to be enormous. We are ready to respond.” and requires unhindered access to all affected communities.”

Bangladesh has sent the highest red flag to Cox’s Bazar city where the camp is located. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department warned that the cyclone could cause serious damage to life and property in eight coastal districts.

No heavy rains were reported in Cox’s Bazar as of Sunday morning. About 1.27 million people have been displaced in the district, officials said.

The sea was rough.

Fisher Jamal Uddin of Cox’s Bazar said local elected officials and volunteers are helping the cyclone shelters. “We are calling on people to move to safer places. We are trying to be safe,” he said.

“The weather is not good. We are responding according to the instructions of the Japan Meteorological Agency. We are currently considering what to do.”

Bangladesh, with a population of over 160 million, has more than 1,500 cyclone shelters. The Navy said it had 21 ships, maritime patrol aircraft and helicopters ready for rescue and relief operations.

Bangladeshi officials said heavy rains from the cyclone could trigger landslides in Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar, as well as three other hilly areas in Rangamati, Bandarban and Kagrachari.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ordered authorities to prepare for evacuation and rescue.

Undersecretary for Disaster Management Enamur Rahman said St. Martins Island in the Bay of Bengal could face greater risks and the government has prepared 37 cyclone shelters with a capacity of 8,500 people.

In May 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar with storm surges, devastating densely populated areas around the Irrawaddy Delta. At least 138,000 people died and tens of thousands of houses and other buildings were washed away.

Roxy Matthew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune, said the cyclone in the Bay of Bengal is rapidly intensifying. Partly because of climate change.

Climate scientists say the cyclone has been able to sustain its energy for days. Cyclone Amphan, which occurred in eastern India in 2020, continued to pass over land as a powerful cyclone, causing widespread damage.

“As long as the sea is warm and the winds are favorable, the cyclone will maintain its strength for a long period of time,” Koll said.

Cyclones are among the world’s most devastating natural disasters, especially when they affect populated coastal areas of South Asia.


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https://www.local10.com/news/world/2023/05/14/bangladesh-myanmar-bracing-as-cyclone-mocha-set-to-make-landfall/ Bangladesh, Myanmar on alert after powerful Cyclone Mocha makes landfall

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