Cyclone Mocha is expected to cross the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh, home to about a million Rohingyas, amidst fears of widespread destruction. The storm, a Category 4 hurricane, is expected to have wind speeds of up to 130 miles per hour. The Meteorological Department of Bangladesh has warned of storm surges, flash floods, and landslides in coastal areas, and the World Meteorological Organization has warned that heavy rains, flooding, and landslides may affect “hundreds of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable people,” including Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and six million people in need of humanitarian assistance in neighboring Rakhine State in Myanmar. Local administration in Cox’s Bazar has evacuated 237,000 people to shelters.
The storm has caused power outages in both Bangladesh and Myanmar, where most of 330 townships, including the capital Naypyidaw and commercial capital Yangon, have no access to electricity. The civil war in Myanmar has intensified since the military took power in a coup in 2021, and the fighting has displaced over a million people, particularly those Rohingya minority. The ruling junta has issued an evacuation order for about a million people in seven townships in Rakhine state, although many more in other parts of the country are likely to be affected as well. The government has also urged farmers to harvest their rice crops immediately and suspended public exams scheduled for Sunday and Monday for two million students.