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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Cyclone Mocha threatens one of the largest refugee camps in the world

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The first tropical cyclone of the year formed in the Bay of Bengal. The element has been named Mocha and will soon hit western Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh. It is possible that its route will lead through the city of Cox’s Bazar, which is considered one of the largest refugee camps in the world.

Mocha is the first cyclone of 2023 to originate in the Bay of Bengal. Predictions are that until it hits land, it will continue to gain strength. Its attack is to take place on Sunday on the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) said Mocha strengthened on Friday, becoming the equivalent of a Category 1 Atlantic hurricane on a five-point ascending scale. It was moving north at 11 kilometers per hour. Just before making landfall, Mocha is expected to reach Category 4 hurricane strength.

Projected track of Tropical Cyclone MochaJTWC

Lots of people at risk

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The Indian Meteorological Department reported the intensity of the element and warned all residents of the danger. Particular appeals for caution were addressed to fishermen and residents of coastal areas. As it was added, the storm wave that the phenomenon is supposed to bring can reach 2.5 meters. Meteorologists expect the lower-lying areas to be completely flooded.

In Bangladesh, one of such places is Cox’s Bazar. The city is mainly inhabited by the Muslim Rohingya ethnic group, who fled persecution in Myanmar during the 2017 conflict. For many of them, the only home is a bamboo and tarpaulin hut. The slums are located on hilly slopes, which are an extremely dangerous place when violent weather phenomena arrive.

The Bangladesh branch of the United Nations Refugee Agency said via social media that preparations were underway for a crisis situation in the camps and on Bhasan Char, an island in the Bay of Bengal, which is also inhabited mainly by poor communities. “In preparation for the cyclone attack, hundreds of Rohingya refugee volunteers were trained to identify hazards, inform their communities, evacuate people if needed and respond when disaster strikes,” it added.

Tropical cyclone Mocha in a satellite imageearthdata.nasa.gov

Situation in Myanmar

Evacuations are already underway in neighboring Myanmar. According to local media, many residents of the most threatened regions have started to seek shelter.

The country has not been hit by officially named cyclones for years. The last time this happened was in April 2017. Although Maarutha – as the phenomenon was called – was the counterpart storm tropical, and its wind gusts reached “only” 92 kilometers per hour, brought very strong downpours and leveled about 100 buildings to the ground.

Cyclone Nargis in May 2008 is considered to be the worst natural disaster to hit Myanmar. It contributed to the death of 140,000 people, affected 2.4 million inhabitants and left 800,000 people homeless.

Main photo source: earthdata.nasa.gov

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