News ID: 115098
Publish Date : 16 May 2023 - 22:48

Death Toll From Cyclone in Rakhine Rises

YANGON (AFP) -- The death toll in cyclone-hit Myanmar rose to 60 on Tuesday, according to local leaders and junta-backed media, as villagers tried to piece together ruined homes and waited for aid and support.
Packing winds of up to 195 kilometers (120 miles) per hour, Mocha made landfall on Sunday, downing power pylons and smashing wooden fishing boats to splinters.
In Rakhine state, at least 41 people died in the villages of Bu Ma and nearby Khaung Doke Kar, inhabited by the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, local leaders told AFP reporters at the scene.
Thirteen people were killed when a monastery collapsed in a village in Rathedaung township north of Rakhine’s capital Sittwe, and a woman died when a building collapsed in a neighboring village, according to Myanmar state broadcaster MRTV.
“There will be more deaths, as more than a hundred people are missing,” said Karlo, the head of Bu Ma village near Sittwe.
Other residents walked the seashore searching for family members swept away by a storm surge that accompanied the cyclone, AFP correspondents said.
State media had reported five deaths on Monday, without offering details.
Mocha was the most powerful cyclone to hit the area in over a decade, churning up villages, uprooting trees and knocking out communications across much of Rakhine state.
China said it was “willing to provide emergency disaster relief assistance”, according to a statement on the Facebook page of its embassy in Myanmar.
The United Nations refugee office said it was investigating reports that Rohingya living in displacement camps had been killed in the storm.
Widely viewed as interlopers in Myanmar, the Rohingya are denied citizenship and healthcare, and require permission to travel outside of their villages in western Rakhine state.
Many others live in camps after being displaced by decades of ethnic conflict in the state.
In neighboring Bangladesh, officials told AFP that no one had died in the cyclone, which passed close to sprawling refugee camps that house almost one million Rohingya who fled a Myanmar military crackdown in 2017.
Cyclones -- the equivalent of hurricanes in the North Atlantic or typhoons in the Northwest Pacific -- are a regular and deadly menace on the coast of the northern Indian Ocean where tens of millions of people live.
Non-profit ClimateAnalytics said rising temperatures may have contributed to Cyclone Mocha’s intensity.