Super Cyclone Mocha Threatens Myanmar and Bangladesh Coasts, Triggering Massive Evacuations

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A powerful cyclone, named Mocha, is poised to make landfall along the coasts of Myanmar and Bangladesh, marking the most potent cyclone to hit the Bay of Bengal in over a decade. With winds reaching up to 240 kilometers per hour (149 miles per hour), the cyclone has been classified as a Super Cyclone by the Zoom Earth website. In anticipation of the storm’s impact, hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated, seeking refuge from the strong winds and heavy rainfall. The projected landfall is expected to occur between Cox’s Bazar, home to nearly one million Rohingya refugees, and Sittwe on Myanmar’s western Rakhine coast. The vulnerable Rohingya refugees, residing in flimsy shelters, face increased risks due to the cyclone. Rescue workers and volunteers have been providing temporary shelters and distributing food supplies, but the deteriorating weather conditions are hindering their relief efforts.

The cyclone’s effects have been felt even in areas further away, such as Myanmar’s commercial hub, Yangon. Concerns over potential storm surges of up to 3.5 meters have prompted the evacuation of thousands of individuals from Sittwe and other at-risk regions. In Bangladesh, authorities have evacuated approximately 190,000 people in Cox’s Bazar and nearly 100,000 in Chittagong. The cyclone’s impact is also of great concern to the Rohingya refugees living in camps near the border town of Teknaf. The refugees, restricted from building permanent structures, are particularly vulnerable to landslides and flooding due to the hilly terrain. Efforts have been made to relocate them to safer locations, such as community centers and schools, but the overall risk remains high.

Cyclone Mocha is being compared to Cyclone Sidr, which struck the southern coast of Bangladesh in 2007, causing extensive damage and claiming thousands of lives. Given the scale and severity of the impending cyclone, authorities are taking precautionary measures, suspending operations at Chittagong’s seaport and halting boat transportation and fishing activities. Cyclones are a recurring threat to the coastal areas of the northern Indian Ocean, where millions of people reside. As Mocha approaches land, emergency response teams are on high alert, prepared to provide assistance and mitigate the potential damage caused by this devastating natural disaster.

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