The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a heavy rainfall warning over six states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura, for the next five days. The IMD has also predicted isolated very heavy falls over Assam and Meghalaya on May 16, 18 and 19. In addition, the department has issued dust storm and dust raising wind warnings over Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The weather department also declared that Cyclone Mocha was making landfall over the Bangladesh-Myanmar coasts and issued warnings related to the cyclone, rainfall, and heatwaves. The department issued a “heavy to very heavy” rainfall warning over northeastern states in association with the cyclonic storm “Mocha” over the Northeast Bay of Bengal.
Orange alert issued for rainfall in 6 states
Orange alert warnings have been issued for light to moderate rainfall, which is expected to be widespread across parts of Northeast India over the next five days. Nagaland, Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura are likely to experience the same between May 14 and May 18.
In particular, isolated areas in Assam and Meghalaya should expect very heavy rainfall on May 15, 16, and 18. Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura should also expect the same between May 14 and May 17. The IMD’s warning of rainfall is a reminder for residents in these areas to take necessary precautions and stay safe during the predicted heavy rainfall and cyclonic storm.
What is Mocha?
Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm Mocha was a powerful tropical cyclone in the North Indian Ocean which affected Myanmar and parts of Bangladesh in May 2023. Mocha wreaked havoc as it made landfall between Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh and Kyaukpyu township in Myanmar on 14 May. With winds estimated at around 250 km/h, Cyclone Mocha is now one of the strongest cyclones on record in the region. The affected areas experienced heavy rains, storm surge, and powerful winds throughout the day, leading to flooding in low-lying areas, particularly in and around Sittwe, the state capital of Rakhine.
Devastation and Humanitarian Impact:
As the cyclone approached, thousands of people sought shelter in evacuation centers and with their relatives further inland, where they will remain until the winds subside. The ongoing severe weather conditions and telecommunication disruptions have hampered efforts to assess the full extent of the disaster. However, preliminary reports indicate extensive damage, especially among already vulnerable communities, including displaced people. The needs for assistance are expected to be significant.
In anticipation of the cyclone’s impact, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners had been preparing throughout the week, strategically positioning supplies and personnel to swiftly respond to the aftermath once it becomes safe. Now that the cyclone is losing intensity and moving inland, humanitarian teams are planning to initiate their assessment and response efforts starting tomorrow.
Cyclone Mocha’s Toll on Lives and Infrastructure:
Tropical Cyclone Mocha also made landfall in Myanmar near Sittwe City, resulting in tragic consequences. The cyclone caused the loss of five lives and left over 700 injured individuals. Moreover, it led to the evacuation of over 100,000 people, causing severe damage to Rohingya Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and houses in the Sittwe area and western Rakhine.
On the Bangladeshi side, the National Disaster Response Coordination Centre reported that a total of 414,170 people and 23,027 livestock were evacuated to 7,040 shelters spread across 14 coastal districts. While significant damage to thousands of refugee shelters and essential facilities in Cox’s Bazar district was reported, fortunately, no loss of life was recorded. In India, the cyclone affected 2,995 individuals and necessitated the evacuation of 595 people in Mizoram.
The impact of Cyclone Mocha on Myanmar is staggering, with an estimated 5.4 million people believed to have been in its path. Among these individuals, approximately 3.2 million are considered to be the most vulnerable, taking into account factors such as shelter quality, food insecurity, and coping capacity. Reports indicate that over 1,200 houses have been completely or partially destroyed in various townships across Chin, exacerbating the already dire situation.
The road to recovery will be arduous for the affected regions as they grapple with the aftermath of Cyclone Mocha. Urgent international assistance and support will be crucial in addressing the extensive damage and meeting the pressing needs of the affected communities, particularly those who were already displaced or vulnerable prior to the cyclone’s arrival.