Cyclone Mocha weakens: Powerful storm kills 6 in Myanmar, leaves 700 injured, cuts off communications

Cyclone Mocha weakens: Powerful storm kills 6 in Myanmar, leaves 700 injured, cuts off communications

Powerful cyclone Mocha hit the coastlines of Bangladesh and Myanmar after intensifying into the equivalent of a category-five storm on Sunday.

Touted as the second most intense cyclone to develop in the Bay of Bengal since 1982, cyclone Mocha made landfall on Sunday afternoon in Bangladesh and Myanmar’s Rakhine state near Sittwe township, tearing roofs off buildings and killing at least six people. Cyclone Mocha wreaked havoc in Myanmar as it converted streets into rivers, uprooted trees and inundated the Myanmar port city of Sittwe, according to reports.

Powerful cyclone Mocha injured around 700 people and cut off communications, reported AP. Strong winds injured more than 700 of about 20,000 people who were sheltering in sturdier buildings on the highlands of Sittwe township.

The storm, which had wind speeds of up to 209 km/h, damaged houses, electrical transformers, mobile phone towers, boats, and lamp-posts in several townships.

The weather department in its latest bulletin said cyclone Mocha has weakened into a cyclonic storm over Myanmar.

"SCS “Mocha” over Myanmar weakened into a Cyclonic Storm at 0230 hours IST of 15th May over Myanmar near latitude 23.5°N and longitude 95.3°E about 450 km NNE of Sittwe (Myanmar), 260 km of north-northeast of Nyaung-U (Myanmar) and 420 km ENE of Cox’s Bazar (Bangladesh)," the IMD said.

Thousands of people were evacuated to monasteries, pagodas and schools in Myanmar, seeking shelter from a powerful storm that slammed into the coast of Myanmar. Videos collected by local media showed how deep water raced through streets while wind lashed trees and pulled boards off roofs.

Forecasters warned cyclone Mocha could be the most powerful storm seen in Bangladesh in nearly two decades. An alert has been sounded for West Bengal and NDRF teams have been deployed in various coastal areas.

Here are the top developments on cyclone Mocha

  • According to local media reports, people were trapped in low-lying areas in their homes as worried relatives outside the township appealed for rescue. Sittwe, the capital city of Myanmar's Rakhine state, experienced heavy floods in certain areas due to cyclone Mocha, while some parts of the city were hit by fierce winds with speeds reaching up to 130 miles per hour.

  • Heavy rains and floods in Myanmar's Sittwe area disrupted electricity and wi-fi connections with videos showing the tide rising dramatically and carrying debris down flooded streets, reported The BBC. A telecom tower was brought down by the high winds as the cyclone approached. Videos shared on social media also showed roofs being blown off houses and billboards flying off buildings in Yangon amid teeming rain.

  • Local media in Myanmar reported that the military government is preparing to send food, medicine, aid and medical personnel to the storm-hit area. After battering Rakhine, the cyclone weakened and was forecast to hit the northwestern state of Chin and the central regions on Monday, AP reported.

  • As cyclone Mocha brought with it heavy rain and strong winds in Bangladesh, more than 1,300 bamboo shelters in Cox's Bazar, the world's largest refugee camp, have been destroyed, reported The BBC. Ahead of the cyclone’s landfall, authorities had moved around 300,000 people to safer areas before the storm hit Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar.

  • The United Nations Development Programme representative in Myanmar tweeted that damage and losses were expected to be extensive, and the organization was ready to respond and would need unhindered access to all affected communities.

  • The storm also affected Bangladesh, but the level of risk was reduced to a great extent, according to the meteorological department in Dhaka. However, hundreds were evacuated from the coastal grounds of Bangladesh- St. Martin, Teknaf, and Cox Bazar earlier after Bangladesh MeT predicted the path of the deadly storm.

  • As the gale-like winds surged, rains lashed parts of Bangladesh. Nevertheless, the damages were diminished as there were no tidal surges, Dhaka-based Jamuna TV reported.

Cyclone Mocha weakens: Powerful storm kills 6 in Myanmar, leaves 700 injured, cuts off communications
Cyclone impact: Hyderabad receives rains

According to climate scientists, Cyclone Mocha was the strongest tropical cyclone in the northern Indian Ocean region since 1982 when it was at its peak- 260 kmph. Just to mention, Cyclone Nargis was the last when winds attained a speed of 215 kmph.

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