Aid groups have issued a warning that early reports indicate that the damage is “extensive,” and one of the strongest cyclones to ever strike Myanmar has disrupted communications with coastal areas.
On Sunday, Cyclone Mocha slammed into the northwest coast of Myanmar, off the Bay of Bengal, with wind gusts of more than 200 kilometers per hour (195 miles per hour). It destroyed homes and downed power lines.
Video from the contention racked Rakhine state showed strong whirlwinds blowing trees to the ground.
Despite the fact that it is difficult to get in touch with people in the area, it is possible to see people huddled together in temporary shelters.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “the ongoing wild weather in Rakhine and telecommunications interruptions mean it has not yet been possible to assess the full magnitude of the disaster.”
“However, early reports indicate that the damage is extensive and that the needs of already vulnerable communities, particularly those who have been displaced, will be high.
In an effort to reduce the likelihood of harm and destruction, aid organizations in Myanmar and Bangladesh launched a massive emergency plan prior to the storm.
They had expected that Mocha would hit Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, where around 1 million individuals from the stateless Rohingya people group live.
However, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center reports that the tropical cyclone made landfall around 1:30 p.m. local time (3:00 a.m. ET) on Sunday, just north of Sittwe, Myanmar.
Hasina Rahman, Country Chief for Bangladesh, Global Salvage Council, told CNN Monday it had been a “near fiasco” for those living in the displaced person camps in Cox’s Bazar, adding there are no reports of setbacks.
However, Rakhine State in western Myanmar was battered by torrential rain, posing a risk of flooding and landslides.
The last tempest to make landfall with a comparable strength was Hurricane Giri back in October 2010. With maximum winds of 250 kph (155 mph) when it made landfall, it was a high-end storm that was equivalent to Category 4.
Over 150 people died as a result of Giri, and roughly 70% of Kyaukphyu’s city was destroyed. The storm caused the destruction of approximately 15,000 homes in the state of Rakhine, according to the United Nations.