North Myanmar and southeast Bangladesh have been bracing themselves for the arrival of a monster. Cyclone Mocha has reached Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm status (ESCS), the equivalent of at least a Category 4 hurricane, within the Bay of Bengal. It is unusual for a cyclone of this strength to affect Myanmar. Bangladesh, unfortunately, has seen many devasting cyclones.
Landfall has been forecast between Cox’s Bazar (Bangladesh) and Kyaukpyu (Myanmar) with extremely damaging winds, very high seas and large waves along with the deadly storm surge threat. Some of the area is low-lying and prone to flooding. Very heavy rain will bring the high risk of landslides and wider flooding in the nearby hills with fishing boats being told to remain in shelter.
“Cox’s Bazar is one of the most disaster-prone districts in Bangladesh, vulnerable to cyclones, floods, landslides, and other natural hazards that can cause loss of life and damage vital infrastructure in the camps. The latest cyclone also comes as the camps are still recovering from recent devastating fires that left around 20,000 refugees displaced.” IOM
Maritime ports of Cox's bazaar have Great Danger signal no. 10 (ten). Payra and Chattogram port have Great Danger signal no. 08 (eight). Other areas at signal no. 04 today with the worst affected areas likely to see a wind-driven surge height 08-12 feet above normal astronomical tide.
“This is the first cyclone to threaten Myanmar this Monsoon season and there are grave concerns about the impact, especially on the already vulnerable and displaced communities with reduced coping capacity…The Myanmar humanitarian Emergency Response Preparedness Plan has been activated nationwide since the start of the week.” ReliefWeb
“Cox’s Bazaar is home to nearly one million Rohingya refugees - the world’s largest camp. The state of Rakhine in neighbouring Myanmar has about six million people in need of humanitarian assistance.”
The UN has enabled and promoted the installation and development of many early warning systems for extreme weather around the world with the message that events will only increase and become more severe as our global climate changes. Bangladesh has seen huge improvements with its early warning system and thousands of lives saved in a region that geographically has huge problems. The low-lying delta land at the top of the Bay of Bengal where severe cyclones often impact. The aim is to “Reduce the loss of lives and livestock through the implementation of forecast-based early actions.”
"Problems involve lack of transportation provision for both people and livestock, and the lack of food and water at the cyclone shelter deterred them from evacuating to a cyclone shelter. Early actions were needed to provide an incentive to people to evacuate out of the landfall.
“Following key early actions at the cyclone shelters in the community level have been identified to reduce the impacts:
• Distribution of food (flattened rice, sugar, high-energy biscuits) and drinking water
• Provision of basic first aid at the cyclone shelters
• Evacuation transportation with local tractors of people with their movable assets and livestock to the cyclone shelters
• Installation of artificial light facilities at community cyclone shelter at night”
The advice in India has been one of preparation with earlier risk of wild seas from Cyclone Mocha for islands in the Bay of Bengal.
As this major cyclone arrives, there will be severe weather impacts from the torrential rain, the damaging winds and the storm surge and yet there are already huge issues for many, including the refugees, in the region. Hopefully, the early warning systems have worked well this time but it is still a grim weather forecast for the end of this weekend.
Further discussion in the Netweather community Forum