Mass departures because of cyclone

Bangladesh, May 13: Around half a million people are being moved to safer areas in southeast Bangladesh, ahead of a cyclone that could be extremely dangerous. Cyclone Mocha is predicted to occur on Sunday, with 170 kph winds and storm rises of up to 12 feet.

There are concerns the cyclone could impact the world’s largest refugee camp, Cox’s Bazaar, where close to a million people live in makeshift homes. Cyclone Mocha could be the most powerful cyclone seen in Bangladesh in nearly 2 decades.

As the weather system heads towards the Bangladesh-Myanmar coast, nearby airports have been shut, fishermen have been told to suspend their work, and 1,500 shelters have been set up, as the process of moving people from helpless areas begins.

Officials in Cox’s Bazaar said 1,000 people had already been moved from one area, with plans to move a further 8,000 people from a ward near the beach if the situation worsens.

Close to a million Rohingya refugees who have fled neighbouring Myanmar remain at risk, living in flimsy bamboo shelters with tarpaulin covers. The UN says it’s doing what it can to protect these areas. Bangladesh’s government doesn’t allow refugees to leave their camps, so many say they’re frightened and unsure of what will happen if their shelters are hit by the storm.

Forecasters expect the cyclone to bring a heavy rain, which can cause landslides – a serious danger for those who reside in hillside camps.

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