Cyclone Mocha leaves trail of destruction in southeastern Bangladesh

In the biggest storm to hit the Bay of Bengal in over a decade, cyclone Mocha ripped through Myanmar and southeastern Bangladesh on Sunday, leaving a trail of destruction.

The cyclone, packing winds of up to 200 mph, brought destructive winds and a devastating storm surge particularly in Bangladesh’s southeastern Cox’s Bazar district and its offshore island.

Shaheen Imran, Cox’s Bazar district’s deputy commissioner and district magistrate, told Xinhua that the cyclone damaged houses and crops, and uprooted trees.

According to the official, “at least 12,000 houses were destroyed fully or partially in the cyclone in Cox’s Bazar.”

He further said they are collecting information through official channels from the affected remote areas on the loss of life and damage to property.

Also, hundreds of makeshift shelters were damaged in camps of Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district housing nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

Officials said there were no report of casualties from the cyclone in the affected areas.

Bangladeshi State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman told journalists that they have taken adequate measures to support the affected people in Cox’s Bazar district where hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated.

The coastal district of Cox’s Bazar and its offshore islands including Saint Martin’s Island came under Great Danger Signal 10.

Md Azizur Rahman, director at the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, said the wind speed in St. Martin’s Island reached a maximum of 147 km per hour at 2:00 p.m. local time Sunday.

TV footage showed widespread flooding in the Saint Martin’s Island of coastal Cox’s Bazar district, some 300 km southeast of capital Dhaka, where thousands of people have been evacuated.

Mocha has begun crossing the last borders of the country, with half of it directed toward Myanmar and the other half towards Bangladesh.

The devastating cyclone made landfall between Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar and Myanmar’s Sittwe packing winds of up to 195 km per hour, said Rahman.

He said Mocha has already weakened and was being gradually reduced to a depression.

He said an inclement weather will persist in parts of Bangladesh including capital Dhaka on Sunday.

Fishing boats, trawlers and maritime vessels over the bay have been advised to remain in shelter till further notice. ■

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