Bangladesh was still picking up the pieces after flash floods in April affected millions of people when a cyclone hit. Cyclone Mora just struck the country’s southeastern coast with rain and winds hours ago, and the BBC reports five people have died. Hundreds of homes have been devastated.
As Cyclone Mora approached yesterday, the country increased its storm danger signal up to 10, the highest level, with warnings some coastal areas were “likely to inundated by a storm surge of four to five feet” higher than normal. The country’s Disaster Ministry told authorities to evacuate people along the coast. Hours ago the cyclone finally struck and is already damaging a country that grapples with cyclones every year.
Bangladesh is home to around 160 million people, and around 10 million reside in coastal areas. The BBC and Reuters report that one of the areas that’s already been hit the hardest in Bangladesh is Cox’s Bazaar, where hundreds of thousands of refugees reside. Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar came to Bangladesh fleeing violence, but now many of their temporary homes have been destroyed. Community leader Shamsul Alam told Reuters in the Balukhali and Kutupalong camps nearly all the 10,000 thatched huts were flattened.
Cyclone Mora started to form after recent monsoon rains which led to landslides and flooding in nearby Sri Lanka. According to authorities around 180 perished as a result. In Sri Lanka, around 75,000 people have had to leave their homes. Reuters described the Sri Lankan floods as the most widespread disaster the country has seen since the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.
Bangladeshi weather officials still said the cyclone wasn’t as bad as they anticipated. It’s supposed to weaken and become a tropical storm as it moves towards India, where officials have already warned of heavy rains in five northern states.