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Cyclone Mora batters Burma’s west coast

A house in Kyauktaw, pictured after Cyclone Mora ravaged the town on 30 May 2017. (PHOTO: DVB)

Cyclone Mora wreaked havoc on Burma’s west coast in the early hours of this morning, leaving a trail of destruction across Arakan and Chin states. An untold number of properties have been damaged or destroyed; however no reports of deaths have been announced.

The cyclone made landfall at 8am in the Arakanese towns of Sittwe, Myebon, Minbya and Kyaukphyu, flattening trees and tearing the rooftops off many houses.

“In [Arakan state capital] Sittwe, the roof was ripped off Sittwe market, advertising billboards were blown away, and many cars were damaged,” said Wai Hin Aung of the Wun Latt Foundation.

Speaking to DVB today, he said, “The winds and storms started last night about 10pm. Tall trees began toppling over, and the rooftops were torn from lots of houses. Near Strand Road, the roofs of the Myanma Economic Bank, Sittwe Marketplace and the Port Authority building were blown off.”

In the nearby coastal town of Myebon, Myo Min from the local branch of the Free Funeral Service Society said earlier this afternoon: “Myebon was hit by the storm from late last night until eight o’clock this morning. We cannot say for sure yet how much damage has been caused, but we can see destruction everywhere.

“We have had previous experience with Cyclone Giri in 2010, so we are better prepared this time. Nonetheless, most people are still too afraid to go outside because the winds are still too strong.”

Torrential winds and rain were also reported inland at Minbya, where trees were torn down, roofs ripped off and power lines broken.

Further north, in Kyauktaw, Cyclone Mora brought down a Buddhist monastery, while more than 60 houses were severely damaged or completely destroyed.

“Around three o’clock this morning, the cyclone lashed our village,” said local resident Maung Kyaw Nu. “The winds were unbelievably strong.”

He said that in the village of Kwin Ohn, which has 207 households, many villagers have fled their homes and sought refuge elsewhere.

He said that two monasteries and seven rice storage facilities had also been destroyed.

In the Chin State town of Paletwa, strong winds and rain struck between 5am and 9:30am.

Speaking to DVB, Kyaw Myo Naing, the township administrator, said, “Mora has brought destruction to Paletwa. Trees have been ripped down, rooftops torn off.”

He said winds were recorded at 25 miles/hr, while 3.7 inches of rain fell this morning.

According to the met office, the storms are expected to move north and northeast.

 

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