Sunday, 14 Apr 2024

Cyclone with winds of up to 180mph leaves six dead in Myanmar

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A 180 mph cyclone has killed at least six people and injured hundreds in Myanmar.

Cyclone Mocha caused seawater to flood at least ten low-lying districts in Rakhine state yesterday along the country’s western coast.

More than 700 people have been injured, according to a leader of the Rakhine Youths Philanthropic Association in Sittwe.

He said that the wind and storm surge prevented immediate rescue.

The un-named leader added: ‘After 4pm yesterday, the storm weakened a bit, but the water did not fall back.

‘Most residents sat on the roof and at the high places of their houses the whole night. The wind blew all night.’

Maximum sustained winds reached 160 mph on Sunday, with gusts surpassing 180 mph, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

This makes it a Category 5 storm and indicates the potential for catastrophic damage.

Water was still about 1.5m high in Myanmar’s flooded areas on Monday morning, with a disaster being declared in 17 townships.

Around 1,000 people have now been evacuated, but the exact extent of the damage is still unknown.

Videos show deep water racing through streets and winds tearing off roofs in Myanmar.

Phone towers and electrical transformers have also been damaged, worsening communication.

Volunteers previously said shelters in Sittwe did not have enough food after more people arrived there seeking help.

The storm also hit neighbouring country Bangladesh leaving several injured.

Thousands were evacuated from the city of Cox’s Bazar, but they were spared the predicted direct hit as the cyclone veered east.

UN agencies and aid workers in Bangladesh had pre-positioned tons of dry food and dozens of ambulances in the refugee camps that house more than one million Rohingya Muslims who fled persecution in Myanmar.

Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune city, said cyclones in the Bay of Bengal are becoming more intense more quickly, in part because of climate change.

Climate scientists say cyclones can now retain their energy for many days.

‘As long as oceans are warm and winds are favourable, cyclones will retain their intensity for a longer period,’ Mr Koll said.

Tropical cyclones, which are called hurricanes or typhoons in other regions, are among the world’s most devastating natural disasters when they hit densely populated coastal areas.

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