Mon. May 29th, 2023

After Cyclone Mocha struck Rakhine state on Sunday, killing at least six people, Myanmar's military officials proclaimed it to be a national disaster region.

village people of Myanmar run for their lives

The storm, which tore through Bangladesh and Myanmar, was one of the fiercest to strike the Bay of Bengal this century.

Contrary to previous predictions, it missed Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, the site of the biggest refugee camp on earth.

But the category five hurricane pounded the shore of Myanmar, obliterating hundreds of houses and shelters.

The low-lying Rakhine region had heavy rainfall, brisk winds, and a storm urge, especially in and around the state capital Sittwe.

90% of the city was destroyed, according to residents who spoke to the BBC. After poles and trees were uprooted by gusts of up to 209 km/h (130 mph), communication wires were also damaged.

In addition, the storm has wrecked camps for Rohingya refugees. The western region of Myanmar, Rakhine, has seen ongoing ethnic strife for years.

Around noon on Sunday local time, Cyclone Mocha made landfall between Cox's Bazar and Kyaukpyu township in Myanmar.

The "ongoing wild weather" and telecommunications outages, according to the UN's humanitarian assistance agency, prevented it from determining the entire scope of the tragedy.

The most recent UN statement stated that "early reports indicate the damage is extensive and needs among already vulnerable communities, particularly displaced people, will be high."

The six recorded deaths came from Sittwe, according to the police. A 14-year-old child was reportedly one of the deceased, killed by a falling tree, according to local media.

Photos and videos taken in the vicinity showed billboards tumbling off buildings, telecom towers collapsing, and roofs being blown off houses.

Even though the storm triggered landslides and floods in the neighboring country of Bangladesh, officials there said that there had not been "major damage" done. So yet, there have been no recorded fatalities throughout the nation.

Child rescued from flood

More than 750,000 people had left the coastal settlements in the days prior to the storm's arrival.

As the sky grew gloomy and the rain began to pour down more inland, people packed into any cover they could find.

A classroom that had been converted into a storm shelter was crammed with locals. Mothers with their newborns, kids, and the elderly looked for a place to rest, sleeping on and huddling beneath desks.

Many others also traveled two hours by rickshaw or by foot to reach shelters with cattle, poultry, and other livestock they had brought from their seashore communities.

Sumi Akter, who resides near a riverside, stated, "I didn't want to leave my house."

She admitted to the BBC that she had experienced several cyclones recently and was accustomed to a routine of abandoning her house to the whims of nature.

According to scientists, cyclones and other storms have grown stronger and more frequent as a result of climate change. Cyclone Mocha was "one of the strong cyclones on record" for Myanmar, according to the UN.

In the meanwhile, Rohingya refugees from Myanmar camped out in rickety shelters in Cox's Bazar. The government of Bangladesh forbids Rohingya refugees from emigrating and from erecting more durable structures.

The BBC was informed by authorities that 16 mosques and educational facilities in addition to more than 1,300 shelters had been harmed by the wind. Trees had been uprooted by the storm, and landslides had occurred.

As of right now, no injuries have been reported in the camps, according to Mizanur Rahman, a spokesperson for the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner.

Cyclone Nargis, which ravaged southern Myanmar's coastline in 2008, left millions of people living in the Irrawaddy Delta without power and killed around 140,000 people.

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