Deadly Cyclone Mocha slams into Bangladesh, Myanmar | Climate News


Hundreds of individuals have hunkered down in monasteries, pagodas and colleges, in search of shelter from a robust storm that slammed into the coast of Myanmar and southeastern Bangladesh on Sunday.

As Cyclone Mocha crashed ashore, it uprooted bushes, scattered flimsy houses in Rohingya displacement camps in Bangladesh, and introduced a storm surge into low-lying areas.

Rescue companies in Myanmar mentioned two individuals had been killed in a landslide, whereas native media reported the loss of life of a person in Myanmar after a tree fell on him.

Packing winds of as much as 195km/h (120mph), Mocha hit between Cox’s Bazar, residence to almost a million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and Myanmar’s Sittwe, in accordance with Bangladesh’s climate workplace.

Streets in Sittwe had been become rivers as the largest storm to hit the Bay of Bengal in additional than a decade surged by way of the seaside city.

Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chowdhury mentioned the principle Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar had been spared from the central thrust of the cyclone. The wind pace was excessive, with “extra of a drizzle than torrential rain”, Chowdhury mentioned.

He mentioned that whereas evaluation of the harm was below approach, it might take time to determine.

“It can take days and weeks to verify the actual harm [from the cyclone] as there are a number of small scattered coastal islands the place fishermen don’t have means to speak and don’t pay heed to warnings,” Chowdhury reported from Cox’s Bazar.

Myanmar’s army data workplace mentioned the cyclone had broken homes, electrical transformers, cell phone towers, boats and lampposts in Sittwe, Kyaukpyu and Gwa townships. It mentioned the storm additionally tore roofs off of sport buildings on the Coco Islands, about 425km (264 miles) southwest of the nation’s largest metropolis, Yangon.

A rescue group from the nation’s japanese Shan state introduced on its Fb web page that they’d recovered the our bodies of a pair who had been buried when a landslide brought on by heavy rain hit their home in Tachileik township.

Native media reported {that a} man was crushed to loss of life when a banyan tree fell on him in Pyin Oo Lwin township within the central Mandalay Area of Myanmar.

In Sittwe, a cellphone tower collapsed amid sturdy winds and different buildings had been broken, native media reported.

Greater than 4,000 of Sittwe’s 300,000 residents had been evacuated to different cities and greater than 20,000 individuals are sheltering in sturdy buildings akin to monasteries, pagodas and colleges situated on the town’s highlands, mentioned Tin Nyein Oo, who’s volunteering in shelters in Sittwe.

Many native individuals dwell in elevated areas greater than 3m (10 ft) above sea degree, the place residents consider the storm surge can not attain, he added.

Titon Mitra, the United Nations Improvement Programme consultant in Myanmar, tweeted: “Mocha has made landfall. 2m individuals in danger. Harm and losses are anticipated to be intensive. We’re prepared to reply and can want unhindered entry to all affected communities.”

Authorities in Cox’s Bazar, which lay within the storm’s predicted path, mentioned earlier that they’d evacuated some 1.27 million individuals, however by early afternoon it appeared that the storm would principally miss the nation because it veered east, mentioned Azizur Rahman, director of the Bangladesh Meteorological Division in Dhaka.

“The extent of danger has lowered to an incredible extent in Bangladesh,” he instructed reporters.

Robust winds accompanied by rains continued on Saint Martin’s Island within the Bay of Bengal within the afternoon, however feared tidal surges didn’t happen as a result of the cyclone began crossing the Bangladesh coast at low tide.

Communication networks in Rakhine had been disrupted after the cyclone made landfall, the UN and native media mentioned.

“For a cyclone to hit an space the place there’s already such deep humanitarian want is a nightmare situation, impacting lots of of hundreds of susceptible individuals whose coping capability has been severely eroded by successive crises,” UN resident coordinator Ramanathan Balakrishnan mentioned.

Roxy Mathew Koll, a local weather scientist on the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune, India, mentioned cyclones within the Bay of Bengal have gotten extra intense extra rapidly, partly due to local weather change.

Al Jazeera’s Chowdhury mentioned Bangladesh’s cyclone warning methods had been “a few of the greatest amongst growing international locations” and have helped save lives in recent times.

“Individuals are all the time days forward about potential risks of the cyclone with the assistance of warnings, volunteers and cell apps,” he mentioned, including that whereas property, crops and livestock might undergo harm, “lives are saved”.

On this picture from a video, a tree falls on a highway as Cyclone Mocha approaches Sittwe in Myanmar on Might 14, 2023. Bangladesh and Myanmar braced Sunday because the extraordinarily extreme cyclone began to hit coastal areas and authorities urged hundreds of individuals in each international locations to hunt shelter [AP Photo]

‘We’re scared’

The wind ripped aside houses manufactured from tarpaulin and bamboo at one camp for displaced Rohingya at Kyaukphyu in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Its residents had been anxiously watching the rising sea tide, camp chief Khin Shwe instructed AFP.

“We are actually going to test whether or not sea water is growing to our place… if the ocean water rises, our camp will be flooded,” Khin Shwe mentioned.

In Teknaf in Bangladesh, excessive winds uprooted bushes, introduced visitors to a halt and despatched residents working for canopy, an AFP correspondent mentioned.

“Our camp homes, that are constructed with bamboo and tarpaulins, will be blown away in gentle, mild winds,” Mohammad Sayed, 28, instructed AFP from Nayapara refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.

“The colleges, that are designated as cyclone shelters … should not sturdy shelters that may stand up to the winds of a cyclone. We’re scared.”

Hundreds left Sittwe on Saturday, packing into vans, automobiles and tuk-tuks and heading for increased floor inland as meteorologists warned of a storm surge of as much as 3.5m (11 ft).

“We’re not OK as a result of we didn’t deliver meals and different issues to cook dinner,” mentioned Maung Win, 57, who spent the evening in a shelter in Kyauktaw city additional inland. “We will solely wait to get meals from individuals’s donations.”

Bangladeshi authorities had moved 190,000 individuals in Cox’s Bazar and practically 100,000 in Chittagong to security, divisional commissioner Aminur Rahman instructed AFP late Saturday.

The Myanmar Pink Cross Society mentioned it was “getting ready for a significant emergency response”.

In Bangladesh, authorities have banned Rohingya refugees from setting up concrete houses, fearing it could encourage them to settle completely reasonably than return to Myanmar, which they fled 5 years in the past following a brutal army crackdown.

The camps are typically barely inland however most of them are constructed on hillsides, exposing them to the specter of landslides.

Forecasters anticipate the cyclone to deliver a deluge of rain, which may set off landslips.

“The wind began about 8:30 this morning and it’s getting stronger,” a Rohingya neighborhood chief within the Kyaukphyu displacement camp instructed AFP.

“A home on the camp collapsed and the roof of a shelter constructed by UNHCR [the UN High Commissioner for Refugees] was blown away,” they mentioned, requesting anonymity.

Tons of of individuals additionally fled Bangladesh’s Saint Martin’s Island, an area resort space proper within the storm’s path, with hundreds extra transferring to cyclone shelters on the coral outcrop.

These left behind mentioned they feared the storm’s strategy.

“We’re in a panic as a result of we don’t have sufficient cyclone shelters right here,” Saint Martin’s resident Jahangir Sarwar, 23, instructed AFP by cellphone.

“We requested the directors many instances that everybody needs to be evacuated to a secure place in mainland Teknaf city. However no motion was taken.”

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