Bangladesh: Cyclone Mocha begins to lash Chittagong, Barisal coastal areas
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
Dhaka [Bangladesh]: The peripheral effect of Cyclone Mocha has begun over the coastal areas of Chattorgram and Barishal divisions, according to the latest bulletin of Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), Dhaka Tribune reported.
According to BMD, Cyclone Mocha is moving towards the coastal areas of Bangladesh and Myanmar with winds up to 210 km/h.
The very strong cyclonic storm, according to the advisory, was located at midnight about 490 kilometres south-southwest of Chattogram port, 410 kilometres south-southwest of Cox's Bazar port, 530 kilometres south of Mongla port, and 460 kilometres south of Payra port, according to Dhaka Tribune.
According to BMD, it is anticipated to develop further today (May 14), continue in a north-northwesterly direction, and cross Cox's Bazar-North Myanmar's coast between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.
The latest bulletin states that at midnight, the maximum sustained wind speed within 74 kilometres of the very severe cyclone centre was approximately 190 kmph, with gusts reaching 210 kmph.
The Indian Meteorological Department on Sunday said that Cyclone Mocha will cross southeastern Bangladesh and north Myanmar today with a sustained wind speed of 180-190 km per hour gusting up to 210 km per hour.
The maritime port of Cox's Bazar has been instructed to hoist the Great Danger Signal 10, it stated, as per Dhaka Tribune.
Additionally, it has been advised that the maritime ports of Chattogram and Payra hoist Great Danger Signal 8, while the maritime port of Mongla should hoist Local Warning Signal 4.
The bulletin states that Cox's Bazar's coastal district, as well as its surrounding islands and chars, will come under Great Danger Signal No. 10.
The coastal districts of Chattogram, Feni, Noakhali, Lakshmipur, Chandpur, Barishal, Patuakhali, Jhalakathi, Pirojpur, Barguna, and Bhola as well as its outlying islands and will come under chars Great Danger Signal No. 8, Dhaka Tribune reported.
Aid agencies in Bangladesh and Myanmar say they are preparing for disaster and have started implementing a comprehensive emergency plan as a strong cyclone approaches millions of helpless people, CNN reported.
Tropical Cyclone Mocha, which formed in the Bay of Bengal early on Thursday, has grown to a high-end Category 4 Atlantic hurricane with sustained winds of 240 kph (150 mph).
According to Sanjeev Kafley, Head of Delegation of the IFRC Bangladesh Delegation, disaster response teams and more than 3,000 local volunteers who have been trained in disaster preparedness and first aid have been deployed on standby in the camps, and a national cyclone early warning system is in place, as per CNN.
7,500 emergency shelter kits, 4,000 hygiene kits, and 2,000 water containers, according to Kafley, are available for distribution.
Arjun Jain, UN Principal Coordinator for the Rohingya Refugee Response in Bangladesh told CNN that in addition, mobile health teams and dozens of ambulances are ready to respond to refugees and Bangladeshis in need, with specially trained teams on standby to help the elderly, children and the specially-abled.
Jain also said, "We expect this cyclone to have a more severe impact than any other natural disaster they have faced in the past five years," adding, "At this stage, we just don't know where the cyclone will make landfall and with what intensity, so we are hoping for the best but are preparing for the worst."
People in low-lying locations and those with critical medical issues had started to be evacuated, he said, reported CNN.
Residents of Rakhine state and the Ayeyarwady region in Myanmar have begun to flee their homes and seek refuge in temples and schools.
IFRC's Kafley also said that the Red Cross has hundreds of volunteers ready to help with relocation efforts for the most vulnerable citizens as well as storm awareness campaigns in towns and villages.
Tropical Cyclone Giri, which made landfall in October 2010, was the most recent storm of comparable strength to do so. It made landfall as a high-end Category 4 equivalent storm with maximum winds of 250 kph (155 mph).
Giri resulted in over 150 fatalities and nearly 70 per cent of the city of Kyaukphyu was destroyed. According to the United Nations, roughly 15,000 homes were destroyed in Rakhine state during the storm, CNN reported.