The Met Office has lowered the storm warning signal to 3 for the seaports of Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Mongla and Payra as Cyclone Mocha has weakened into a land deep depression after crossing the coasts.
In the final bulletin for the storm on Sunday evening, Bangladesh Meteorological Department said the system was staying over Sittwe in Myanmar and likely to move inland further. With more rains, it will gradually end.
The cyclone has lashed Saint Martin’s Island in Cox’s Bazar with strong wind and heavy rainfall since morning, destroying hundreds of homes and trees. There was a report of one person being injured by an uprooted tree.
The wind became stronger in the afternoon and brought an hour of devastation after 4 pm as the storm centre crossed the island before hitting the coasts.
Tin-made houses and mud huts suffered most damage. Uprooted trees fell on the houses and streets while boundary walls collapsed.
Most of the islanders took refuge at government shelters, hotels and resorts. More than 2,000 of them took shelter at a 20-bed hospital, but many of the men left after the situation improved. They later took their family members home.
The suffering worsened for those whose houses were damaged.
Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Shaheen Imran said the local representatives reported around 1,200 homes were damaged.
Thet district administration will start distributing relief and assessing the damage when the situation improves further, he said.
St Martin’s union council Chairman Mojibul Islam said the coral island suffered “immense damage” due to wind, but the human habitats did not experience storm surge.
People started leaving the storm shelters despite drizzles in the evening, he said.
Storm surges whipped up the cyclone moving inland from the Bay of Bengal inundated the Myanmar port city of Sittwe, with winds of up to 210 kph ripping away tin roofs and bringing down a communications tower.
Some 400,000 people were evacuated in Myanmar and Bangladesh ahead of Cyclone Mocha making landfall.
Parts of Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar's Rakhine state, were flooded and the ground floors of several buildings were under water, a video posted on social media by a witness in the city showed.
Amid worries over possible damage during the cyclone, soothing wind under the influence of the storm has brought some relief to the residents of Dhaka after a heatwave.
The highest temperature in the capital was 33 degrees Celsius, 2.5 degrees Celsius less than on Saturday.
The mercury also dropped in other parts of the country. The highest temperature was 37.5 degrees Celsius at Dimla in Nilphamari, down from 38.5 degrees Celsius on Saturday.
An official at Bangladesh Meteorological Department’s control room said it may rain in Dhaka on Sunday and Monday.
Md Azizur Rahman, the director of the department, said rains may increase in Dhaka, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Chattogram regions on Monday after the entire storm crosses the coasts.
Cyclone Mocha has left a trail of destruction at Shah Porir Dwip island at Teknaf in the coastal district of Cox’s Bazar, damaging homes and uprooting trees.
The peripheral effects of the storm could be felt in the morning. Winds and rains became heavier as the day wore out. The situation improved after 4:30 pm as the storm lost much of its strength.
By then, many mud huts were damaged by uprooted trees. Shops were also damaged. Tin sheets were blown away from roofs.
Trees uprooted on streets hampered traffic.
No casualties were reported immediately as most of the residents moved to storm shelters.
Some of them left Uttorpara Government Primary School shelter amid drizzles after 5 pm.
The gas disruption in Chattogram caused by a halt in production at the floating LNG terminal in the Bay of Bengal could last all week, distribution authorities said.
In a notice published on Sunday, Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited said that it could take “up to 6-7 days” for the situation to return to normal.
The Floating Storage Regasification Units, on average, produce around 700 MMcf (million cubic feet) of gas from LNG every day.
According to KGDCL, at least 350 MMcf of gas is required daily for the port city’s households and businesses, as well as for the fertiliser factories and power stations, which are not connected to the national grid.
State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman said the government did not receive reports of damage yet and the tidal surges were at a tolerable level.
In a press conference at the Secretariat, he said: “Around 8,500 people have taken refuge in 37 storm shelters on St Martin’s Island. Apart from that, more than 200,000 people took refuge in 576 storm shelters in Cox’s Bazar and another 500,000 at 1,024 shelters in Chattogram.”
He said preparations for this cyclone were most adequate among all the disasters over the past five years.
Bangladesh suspended SSC and equivalent exams scheduled for Monday under all education boards due to the cyclone.
The announcement follows the suspension of Sunday’s exams across six education boards.
Tapan Kumar Sarker, chairman of the inter-education board coordination committee, on Sunday said: “The exams scheduled for Monday will be the same for all boards; hence we decided to postpone the exams for all boards instead of just six.”
Very severe Cyclone Mocha has crossed the coasts of Bangadesh’s Cox’s Bazar and Myanmar’s north Rakhine, leaving a trail of destruction.
Wind speed slowed on its way to making landfall. After landfall, it has become a land deep depression.
The maritime ports of Cox’s Bazar, Chattogram, Mongla and Payra have been asked to lower the warning to cautionary signal 3 from great danger signals 10 and 8.
Cyclone Mocha has lost some strength as it nears landfall.
At noon on Sunday, the eye of the storm was 200 km south of Cox’s Bazar Port, 285 km south-southwest of Chattogram Sea Port, and 345 km south-southeast of Payra Port.
Within 74 km of the storm’s centre, maximum sustained winds ranged from 160-180 kph.
The Kapotakkhya and Kholpatua rivers in Satkhira’s Shyamnagar and Ashashuni have seen water levels rise four feet higher than normal due to the impact of Cyclone Mocha.
As the cyclone began to cross the coast on Sunday, it also changed course slightly and brought relief to locals who were worried about inundation.
Padmapukur union council member Uttam Kumar said the people were worried of a repeat of the situation during cyclones Ayla and Amphan.
Repair work of the circular embankment in almost all areas of the Gabura Union, including Pashwemari, is proceeding, said Sirajul Islam, a rural healthcare worker in Gabura. “Therefore, you can’t call this union, which is a remote island, safe enough,” he said.
All departments of the district administration have been asked to be on alert, said Satkhira Deputy Commissioner Md Humayun Kabir.
The effects of Cyclone Mocha are being felt on St Martin’s Island in the Bay of Bengal.
Heavy rain fell in the area and meteorologists say wind speeds on the island have reached 50-55 kph. Cox’s Bazar town and the Teknaf coastal area are also experiencing showers and strong winds.
Cyclone Mocha is 250 kilometres south of Cox’s Bazar and is now crossing the coast, according to the latest bulletin by the Met Office.
It's 335 kilometres south of Chattogram Port.
The storm is 435 km south-southeast of Mongla Port and 350 km south-southeast of Payra Port.
The Cox’s Bazar coastal district, its offshore islands and chars are also under Great Danger Singal No. 10.
The districts of Chattogram, Feni, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Chandpur, Barishal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Jhalokathi, Pirojpur, Borguna, and their offshore islands will be under Greater Danger Signal No. 8.
The low-lying areas of Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram are likely to be inundated by wind-driven tidal surges eight to 12 feet above normal.
Tidal surges of five to seven feet above normal are also likely to inundate low-lying parts of Feni, Noakhali, Laxmpur, Chandpur, and Bhola.
The Chattogram, Sylhet, and Barishal Divisions are likely to experience heavy to very heavy rainfall and landslides may occur in the hilly parts of Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Rangamati, Khagrachari, and Chattogram.
Trained volunteers are sharing warning messages in Rohingya camps in their native dialect.
Cyclone Mocha is expected to make landfall with heavy rains and winds on Sunday afternoon.
The maritime port of Cox’s Bazar has been advised to keep hoisted great signal No. 10, while Chattogram and Payra ports were asked to hoist great signal No. 8.
The Mongla Port has been advised to keep hoisted local warning signal No. 4.
The coastal districts of Cox’s Bazar and its offshore islands will come under the great signal No. 10.
“The wind is picking up. Waves are running in the sea, although they are small. There is rain. The sound of the waves and the roaring of the sea is telling me that the water levels will rise. I am making a guess on past experiences,” Tayub Ullah, a digital creator, said in a Facebook video, narrating his experiences on St Martin’s Island. He posted the video at 8:30 am on Sunday.
The island has been without power since 3 pm Saturday, he said.
“The power won’t come back until the storm is over. My mobile battery is low and I won’t be able to come online frequently. People all over the country are worried and anxious. They are more tense about the island and its people than the cyclone itself. This is love! This is the love of others for the island and its people.”
Cyclone Mocha begins to cross the Bangladesh coast and will complete the crossing through Cox's Bazar and north Myanmar by Sunday afternoon.
Cox’s Bazar experiences rain as Cyclone Mocha moves closer to the coast.
Low-lying areas in Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram and their offshore islands are likely to be inundated by the wind-driven surge of 8-12 feet above normal astronomical tide.
Hundreds of thousands of people on the path of very severe cyclone Mocha have moved to storm shelters along the southeastern coasts of Bangladesh as meteorologists warn of storm surges, flash floods and landslides, along with winds of up to 210 kph.
Cyclone Mocha is forecast to cross the coast by 3 pm Sunday
Wind speed surges to as much as 210 kph in gusts and squalls
The cyclone is centred 410 kilometres south-southwest of Cox’s Bazar
Cox's Bazar, a southeastern border district, is where more than a million Rohingya refugees live, most of them having fled a military-led crackdown in Myanmar in 2017.
Categorised as a very severe cyclonic storm that could unleash sea surges of up to 12 feet, Mocha is expected to hit Myanmar's Rakhine state and northwestern region, where six million people need humanitarian assistance and 1.2 million are displaced, the UN humanitarian office said.
Since a junta seized power two years ago, Myanmar has been plunged into chaos and a resistance movement is fighting the military on multiple fronts after a bloody crackdown on protests. -- Reuters