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Bangladesh, Myanmar Evacuate Thousands Ahead of Cyclone Mocha’s Landfall

© Photo : Regional Specialized Meteorological CentreCyclone Sitrang
Cyclone Sitrang - Sputnik India, 1920, 13.05.2023
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the “extremely severe” cyclone is currently in the Bay of Bengal and is moving ahead at a speed of 8 km per hour. It is expected to see wind speeds of up to 175 km/h once it makes landfall on Sunday.
Thousands of people in Bangladesh and northern areas of Myanmar have been evacuated or warned by authorities to move to safer locations ahead of Cyclone Mocha’s predicted landfall at noon on Sunday.
As per an update by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday, the cyclone is currently around 730 km south-southwest of Cox’s Bazar (Bangladesh) and 660 km southwest of Sittwe (Myanmar).
Authorities in Bangladesh, Myanmar as well as in India have warned that the landfall could be accompanied by “flash floods” which could trigger landslides in the affected areas.
Bangladesh has begun moving around 500,000 people to over 570 cyclone shelters starting Saturday, Muhammad Shaheen Imran, a Bangladeshi official, told local media.
Cyclone Mocha - Sputnik India, 1920, 12.05.2023
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According to officials, the cyclone will make landfall between Cox’s Bazar (Bangladesh) and Kyaukpyu (Myanmar).
Cox’s Bazar is home to one of the biggest Rohingya refugee settlements in the world, most of them living in makeshift camps. Bangladeshi officials have reportedly moved them to safer concrete structures such as schools to help them tide over the extreme weather event.
Azizur Rahman, the head of Bangladesh’s Meteorological Department, reportedly called Cyclone Mocha the “most powerful storm" since Cyclone Sidr, which affected Bangladesh’s coastal communities back in 2007 and resulted in over 3,000 deaths.

Evacuations in Myanmar

Similarly, reports suggest that thousands of people living along the western coast of Rakhine state have also begun to be evacuated by the authorities.
As per Myanmar’s state-backed newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar, authorities carried out emergency drills with a focus on response and rescue operations ahead of the landfall.
Myanmar’s north-western areas are also known for being prone to extreme weather events. Cyclone Nargis, which hit the region in 2008, caused more than 138,000 deaths, making it the worst extreme weather event in country’s history.

Impact in India

Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department has forecast "heavy" to "very heavy" rainfall in the north-eastern states of Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland, as well as parts of Assam and Manipur on Saturday and Sunday on account of conditions created due to the advancing cyclone.
The north-eastern states of India are geographically contiguous with Bangladesh and the northern part of Myanmar.