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Cyclone Mocha floods Myanmar city, spares Bangladesh refugee camps

May 15, 2023 05:38 AM IST

Streets in Sittwe were turned into rivers as the biggest storm to hit the Bay of Bengal in more than a decade surged through the seaside town.

Storm surges whipped up by a powerful cyclone inundated the Myanmar port city of Sittwe on Sunday, reported The Daily Star.

Local residents check the damages after Cyclone Mocha's crashed ashore, in Kyauktaw in Myanmar's Rakhine state on May 14, 2023. (AFP)

Parts of Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar's Rakhine state, were flooded, while winds of up to 130 miles per hour ripped away tin roofs and brought down a communications tower.

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Rescue services in Myanmar said two people were killed in a landslide, while local media reported the death of a man in Myanmar after a tree fell on him, reported Al Jazeera.

Streets in Sittwe were turned into rivers as the biggest storm to hit the Bay of Bengal in more than a decade surged through the seaside town.

Myanmar's military information office said the cyclone had damaged houses, electrical transformers, mobile phone towers, boats and lampposts in Sittwe, Kyaukpyu and Gwa townships. It said the storm also tore roofs off of sport buildings on the Coco Islands, about 425km (264 miles) southwest of the country's largest city, Yangon.

A rescue team from the country's eastern Shan state announced on its Facebook page that they had recovered the bodies of a couple who were buried when a landslide caused by heavy rain hit their house in Tachileik township.

More than 4,000 of Sittwe's 300,000 residents were evacuated to other cities and more than 20,000 people are sheltering in sturdy buildings such as monasteries, pagodas and schools located on the city's highlands, said Tin Nyein Oo, who is volunteering in shelters in Sittwe, reported Al Jazeera.

Read: ‘Mocha possibly the strongest tropical cyclone in north Indian Ocean since 1982’

Meanwhile, India Meteorological Department reported that "Very Severe Cyclonic Storm 'Mocha' weakened into a severe cyclonic storm over Myanmar."

The system is continuing the weakening trend and will become a cyclonic storm during the next few hours, it added.

Moreover, Mocha spared a densely-populated cluster of refugee camps in low-lying neighbouring Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, where authorities moved around 300,000 people to safer areas before the storm hit, Rohingya refugees inside densely-populated camps in the Cox's Bazar in the southeast of the country hunkered down inside their ramshackle homes, reported The Daily Star.

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