A very severe cyclonic storm Mocha is intensifying rapidly in the Bay of Bengal and threatens coastal areas of Bangladesh and Myanmar. WMO is providing forecasts and meteorological support to humanitarian agencies to help them mobilize against this very dangerous threat.
WMO’s regional specialized meteorological centre New Delhi forecasts that Mocha will move towards Bangladesh-Myanmar coasts and further intensify until landfall between Cox’s Bazar (Bangladesh) and Kyaukpyu (Myanmar), close to Sittwe (Myanmar) on Sunday 14 May (around noon, local time).
This very dangerous cyclone is associated with sustained maximum winds of 180-190 km/h, the equivalent of category 3 on the Saffir Simpson scale. A storm surge with height of about 2.0-2.5 m above the astronomical tides is likely to inundate low lying areas of north Myanmar and adjoining SE Bangladesh coasts during the time of the landfall. Heavy rainfall is forecast over Myanmar and SE Bangladesh, with the possible risk of floods, flash floods and landslides.
There will be major impacts both ahead and after landfall for potentially hundreds of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable people, once more underlining the importance of the UN’s Early Warnings for All initiative.
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.
This cyclone impact area both in Cox’s Bazaar and Rakhine is low-lying and highly prone to flooding. Heavy rains and strong winds are later expected to hit inland communities in the Northwest which are also prone to landslides and flooding.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, International Organization for Migration, World Health Organization and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are all making contingency plans and mobilizing community preparedness, based on the forecasts.
This includes pre-positioning medical supplies, food and emergency shelter.
OCHA said an urgent injection of funds is needed to facilitate a full-scale response to the cyclone. To date, the US$ 764 million Humanitarian Response Plan is only 10 percent funded.