Myanmar: 400 people dead from Cyclone Mocha in Rakhine state

By SM Najmus Sakib


DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA):  More than 400 people are dead in Myanmar’s Rakhine state from Cyclone Mocha, which made landfall Sunday on the coast between Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district and Myanmar Kyaukpyu township, a rights group said Wednesday.

The Arakan Rohingya National Alliance (RNA) in a statement said that coastal villages in Rakhine’s capital Sittwe suffered extensive damage and more than 400 people, mostly Muslims, lost their lives and the death toll is expected to rise. It added that over 10,000 homes were also destroyed.

Cyclone Mocha – one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the region – made landfall Sunday, leaving a trail of death and destruction. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center said it entered Rakhine’s coast with wind speeds of more than 135 miles (217 kilometers) per hour.

“In Sittwe, approximately 130,000 Rohingya have been confined in refugee camps, similar to concentration camps, since 2012. Most of them have not been evacuated. One camp, which housed 380 shelters, was completely wiped out by approximately 30 feet of flooding, Nay San Lwin, a co-founder of the Free Rohingya Coalition, told Anadolu.

According to multiple sources, the death toll in all camps in Sittwe may be higher than 400. However, due to the outage of mobile and Internet services in the area, it will take some time to obtain the exact figure. Structures in all the camps are 90% damaged, he added.

According to the latest statement by the United Nations, the storm surge has risen to 9-9.5 feet in the low-lying areas of Arakan and Bangladesh’s coasts.

Mocha destroyed nearly all homes, shelters, schools, mosques, monasteries, clinics and all infrastructure in Sittwe. It also struck the towns of Ponnagyan, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U, Myebon, Pauktaw and Rathedaung.

Meanwhile, the ARNA statement strongly condemned the military regime for its lack of adequate efforts and proper cyclone disaster management to save the lives of the people.

“Now people are in dire need of drinking water, medicines, shelters, food and essentials, and we urge the international community and NGOs to come to their aid. The military regime should allow all aid agencies and individual helpers unhindered access to every needy person without discrimination of any kind,” it said

[Map of Myanmar from CIA Factbook/Public Domain]

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