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Myanmar begin cleaning up, counting casualties after devastating Cyclone Mocha

THE STAR – Recovery efforts were underway this week in Myanmar and Bangladesh after a powerful cyclone smashed into their coastlines, causing widespread destruction and over 150 deaths, with hundreds of others also believed missing.

Myanmar took the brunt of Cyclone Mocha, while Bangladesh was spared a feared catastrophe.

Residents of Myanmar’s Rakhine state worked to repair the damage and mourn the dead. Areas further inland also suffered damage, including the central city of Bagan.

Independent media said hundreds more people were believed missing. Many of those reported dead or unaccounted for had been living in ramshackle displacement camps that were reportedly heavily damaged by the storm surge.

It is difficult to confirm the extent of casualties and damage because telecommunication facilities in the area were damaged by the storm’s high winds. Information is hard to obtain even in normal times because the military restricts the media.

Heavy rain in Bagan, the ancient city that is one of Myanmar’s major tourist attractions, caused flooding that weakened the foundations of at least four temples.

Myanmar’s government issued disaster declarations for 17 townships in Rakhine and four in Chin state, north of Rahkine, where hundreds of buildings were reported damaged.

Local residents stand on broken boats in Sittwe, Myanmar. PHOTO: AFP
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