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Bangladesh and Myanmar ‘preparing for the worst’ as cyclone makes landfall

Tens of thousands of people along the coasts of Bangladesh and Myanmar were urged to take shelter in preparation for Storm Mocha, an extremely powerful cyclone that made landfall Sunday.

Indian Meteorological Department reported that volunteers used loudspeakers in coastal districts to warn residents of the expected 150mph winds.

In Bangladesh (a country with a population of 160 million), more than 1,500 shelters for cyclones have been built. More than 10,000 people in Myanmar villages have been encouraged to seek shelter inside sturdy buildings like temples, schools, and monasteries.

Read More: A’very severe’ cyclone headed towards Bangladesh could wipeout the world’s largest refugee camps

Image: Locals standing on the sea bank before Cyclone Mocha strikes, in Sittwe (Rakhine State)

Many people who lived along the west coast of Rakhine State have been evacuated.

On Sunday morning the outermost band reached the coast in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. By afternoon, the storm centre was expected to land near Sittwe Township.

Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh, where a million Rohingya refugees live, will also be affected.

Bangladesh: More Information

Picture: A’very severe storm’ is expected to hit Bangladesh on Sunday. India Meteorological Department

This comes after thousands were made homeless in March after a massive fire broke out at Cox’s Bazar.

Some refugees refuse to leave their accommodations despite the warning.

Setara, a refugee from the Philippines, stated: “Once I lost everything due to a massive violence.”

Once again, we’ll have to leave home. When will life be merciful to us?

According to the World Food Programme, the worst-affected areas will be those with conflict, poverty, and low community resilience.

Sheela Matt, deputy director at the charity, stated that “we are preparing for worst-case scenarios, but hoping for best.”

Many of those most likely to suffer are already dependent on the regular humanitarian aid provided by WFP.

They simply cannot afford to have another disaster.

Picture: Evacuations in progress. Image: Humanity & Inclusion, 2023

WFP has said that it has enough food for more than 400,000 residents of Rakhine State and surrounding areas to survive on for a month.

The chairman of the Myittar Yaung Chi charitable foundation said that they are still trying to find enough food to fill the 20 rooms they have set up for guests to stay at in the Sittwe area.

Image: Humanity & Inclusion in 2023

He said that a massive plan had been implemented, including the training of 100 volunteer rescuers on flag warning signals.

The World Health Organisation also has 40 ambulances, and 33 medical teams on standby.

Pic: Humanity & Inclusion in 2023

Claire Nullis from the World Meteorological Organisation told a press briefing at Geneva, Friday, that the cyclone was “very dangerous” with violent winds.

She added that “there will be major effects both before and after landing for hundreds of thousands of people in the world who are most vulnerable.”


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