...By Larry John for TDPel Media.
As Cyclone Mocha made landfall on Sunday afternoon, the region witnessed the destructive power of a category-five storm.
People sought shelter in monasteries, pagodas, and schools as wind speeds of up to 130 miles per hour (209km/h) tore roofs off buildings.
The devastating impact of the cyclone was felt across Myanmar and Bangladesh, causing extensive damage and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
Destruction in Cox’s Bazar: World’s Largest Refugee Camp Hit
In Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee camp, more than 500 bamboo shelters were destroyed by Cyclone Mocha.
This added to the already dire situation faced by the Rohingya refugees who sought safety in the camp.
The cyclone’s high winds, accompanied by landslides and floods, wreaked havoc on the area, cutting off communication as mobile phone towers collapsed.
The destruction of shelters in Cox’s Bazar further exacerbates the already vulnerable condition of the Rohingya refugees.
With limited access to basic amenities, the cyclone’s impact poses a significant challenge to their safety and well-being.
Damage Across Myanmar’s Townships
The storm’s fury reached various townships in Myanmar, including Sittwe, Kyaukpyu, and Gwa.
Myanmar’s military information office reported that Cyclone Mocha damaged houses, electrical transformers, boats, and lampposts in these areas.
Additionally, sports buildings on the Coco Islands, located southwest of Yangon, lost their roofs due to the powerful storm.
The widespread damage caused by Cyclone Mocha in multiple townships underscores the magnitude of the disaster.
The destruction of essential infrastructure, such as houses and electrical transformers, further hampers recovery efforts and leaves communities grappling with the aftermath.
Evacuations and Struggle for Resources
In Sittwe, over 4,000 residents were evacuated to other cities as a precautionary measure.
More than 20,000 people sought refuge in sturdy structures like monasteries, pagodas, and schools situated on the highlands of the city.
However, the unexpected influx of people overwhelmed the available resources, resulting in a shortage of food supplies in the shelters.
The evacuation efforts highlight the proactive approach taken to safeguard lives.
However, the strain on available resources reveals the need for better preparedness and coordination to meet the needs of displaced individuals during such emergencies.
Bangladesh’s Massive Evacuation Efforts
In southeastern Bangladesh, authorities evacuated over 500,000 people from their homes in the path of Cyclone Mocha.
Many arrived at shelters using rickshaws and on foot, bringing along their livestock and sleeping mats. The displaced population expressed their concerns, emphasizing the need for stronger homes that can withstand such calamities.
The scale of evacuation in Bangladesh demonstrates the government’s commitment to ensuring the safety of its citizens.
However, the reliance on makeshift shelters and the expressed desire for sturdier housing highlight the importance of disaster-resilient infrastructure.
As the region grapples with the aftermath of Cyclone Mocha, the devastating impact on communities and infrastructure becomes apparent.
The destruction of shelters, infrastructure, and essential services further exacerbates the challenges faced by displaced populations.
Efforts are underway to provide aid and support to those affected, emphasizing the need for swift and coordinated responses to minimize the human toll in the wake of natural disasters.
The memory of Cyclone Nargis in 2008 serves as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences when such storms strike unprepared communities.