A new cyclone estimated to be the strongest to hit Myanmar in more than a decade is expected to make landfall near the Bangladesh border on Sunday, raising the possibility of a major humanitarian disaster.
The storm, Cyclone Mocha, formed in the southern Bay of Bengal on Thursday and has begun to batter western Myanmar as it moves northeast on Friday, with heavy rain, strong winds and storm surges estimated at will continue until Sunday, according to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.
Myanmar and Bangladesh have begun sending thousands of volunteers and ordering evacuations from low-lying areas, Agence France-Presse reported, in a region home to some of the poorest. people in the world, who are especially vulnerable to extreme weather events.
The storm’s sustained winds of 75 miles per hour, recorded Friday, are expected to increase to 110 mph by the time it makes landfall, forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said. After making landfall, the typhoon will begin to dissipate from Myanmar’s rugged terrain, they added.
If that forecast holds, Mocha will be the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Myanmar since Typhoon Giri, which in 2010 packed winds of 143 mph, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric’s historical storm tracks. Administration. The storm killed at least 45 people in Myanmar.
Hurricanes are very destructive. The term “cyclone” refers to a type of tropical storm – the umbrella term for all storms, such as hurricanes and typhoons – that form in the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea, both located in the north Indian Ocean.
Scientists say climate change is helping to intensify hurricanes because unusually warm ocean temperatures provide more energy to fuel tropical storms.
Cyclone Mocha arrives as a deadly heat wave has been heating up Southeast Asia for weeks. In April, Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, hit 105.1 degrees, the highest temperature in six decades. Laos’ capital, Vientiane, reached 108.5 degrees on Saturday, the hottest temperature on record. Thailand also recorded triple-digit temperatures.
The Bay of Bengal, in the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean, has a long history of major storms. Cyclone Amphan killed more than 80 people in India and Bangladesh in 2020. In 2017, Cyclone Mora devastated Sri Lanka and the homes of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Myanmar, killing at least 194 you people.
In 2008, Cyclone Nargis became the second deadliest tropical cyclone on record and the deadliest in Myanmar, killing more than 135,000 people. In 2007, Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh, killing more than 3,000 people.
In Myanmar, the risk of devastation is compounded by its ongoing civil war, which has displaced some 1.8 million people across the country, with the region south of the border with Bangladesh an active fighting zone. home to many refugee camps.