Powerful cyclone Mocha makes landfall in Myanmar after hitting parts of Bangladesh

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© Sai Aung Main, AFP

Thousands of people hunkered down Sunday in monasteries, pagodas and schools, seeking shelter from a powerful storm that slammed into the coast of Myanmar, tearing roofs off buildings and killing at least three people.

Cyclone Mocha made landfall Sunday afternoon in Myanmar’s Rakhine state near Sittwe township with winds of up to 209 kilometers (130 miles) per hour, Myanmar’s Meteorological Department said. The storm previously passed over Bangladesh's Saint Martin's Island, causing damage and injuries, but turned away from the country's shores before landfall.

As night fell, the extent of the damage in Sittwe was not clear. Earlier in the day, high winds crumpled cell phone towers, cutting off communications in much of the area.

In videos collected by local media before communications were cut off, deep water races through streets while wind lashes trees and pulls boards off roofs.

Rakhine-based media reported that streets were flooded, trapping people in low-lying areas in their homes as worried relatives outside the township appealed for rescue.

Myanmar’s military information office said the storm had damaged houses, electrical transformers, cell phone towers, boats and lampposts in Sittwe, Kyaukpyu, and Gwa townships. It said the storm also tore roofs off of sport buildings on the Coco Islands, about 425 kilometers (264 miles) southwest of the country’s largest city, Yangon.

On Sunday morning, several deaths caused by wind and rain were reported in Myanmar.


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