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Year’s Strongest Cyclone Mocha Ravages Myanmar & Bangladesh, Death Toll Rises to 29

Mocha, an extremely severe cyclonic storm, finally made landfall over Myanmar and Bangladesh, narrowly avoiding India. The storm arrived on the coasts of both countries between 12:30-2:30 PM IST on Sunday, bringing with it powerful winds reaching up to 195 kmph and heavy rainfall.

Shivam Dwivedi
Year’s Strongest Cyclone Mocha Ravages Myanmar & Bangladesh (Photo Source: IMD)
Year’s Strongest Cyclone Mocha Ravages Myanmar & Bangladesh (Photo Source: IMD)

With winds exceeding 250 kmph, Mocha became the strongest cyclone of the year and the most intense among the 16 cyclones formed globally so far. However, as the first cyclone of the pre-monsoon season, it weakened to a wind speed of below 200 kmph before hitting land.

Fortunately, Mocha seemed eager to dissipate quickly after its formation. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) reported that the storm rapidly weakened into a depression over Myanmar on Monday morning. Within a few hours, the remnants of the storm further weakened into a well-marked low-pressure area, making the rescue, rehabilitation, and recovery efforts more manageable.

While parts of northeastern India experienced the impact of the storm, the majority of its destructive force was focused on Bangladesh and Myanmar. Mocha caused widespread havoc in Myanmar, severely disrupting daily life and leading to extensive flooding of roads. Storm surges flooded significant areas of Sittwe, and strong winds caused the collapse of communication towers, trees, and even houses along the coastal regions.

Bangladesh also faced significant devastation, although it was relatively spared from the worst of Mocha's wrath. An official from Bangladesh reported that 12,000 houses in Cox's Bazar were fully or partially destroyed. The cyclone also damaged crops, uprooted trees, and caused damage to hundreds of makeshift shelters housing Rohingya refugees.

In India, the aftermath of Mocha is expected to bring heavy to very heavy rainfall to the northeastern states until the weekend. The IMD has forecasted heavy showers over Arunachal Pradesh from May 15 to 18, over Assam and Meghalaya from May 15 to 19, and over Nagaland, Mizoram, and Tripura from May 15 to 19.

Furthermore, Assam and Meghalaya are likely to experience very heavy downpours on May 15, 16, and 18, while the N.M.M.T. states will encounter similar conditions from May 15 to 17. In contrast to neighboring eastern states experiencing heatwaves, most of the northeastern states have been placed under a yellow watch for rainfall over the next few days, indicating the need to stay updated on weather conditions.

From Monday to Tuesday, all northeastern states will be on yellow watch, except for Arunachal Pradesh, which will be released from the alert starting Wednesday. The remaining states will continue to be under the yellow watch until Friday, May 19.​ Monday witnessed a distressing escalation in the death toll resulting from the devastating Cyclone Mocha that rampaged across the Bay of Bengal. As communication was gradually reinstated in western Myanmar, reports revealed that​

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