Tens of thousands of people living along the coasts of Bangladesh and Myanmar have been urged to seek refuge as nations brace for an extremely violent cyclone – known as Storm Mocha – on Sunday.
Volunteers used loudspeakers to warn residents in coastal districts, which are expected to experience wind gusts of up to 150mph, according to India’s meteorological department.
More than 1,500 cyclone shelters have been set up in Bangladesha country of around 160 million people, while more than 10,000 villagers in Myanmar have been incited to seek refuge in solid buildings such as temples, schools and monasteries.
Learn more: ‘Very severe’ cyclone heading for Bangladesh could wipe out world’s largest refugee camp
Thousands of people living along the west coast of Rakhine State have already been evacuated.
The cyclone is expected to make landfall today between Kyaukpyu in Myanmar and Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, home to one million Rohingya refugees.
It comes after thousands of people were left homeless after a A massive fire has broken out in Cox’s Bazar in March.
Despite the warning, some refugees are reluctant to leave their accommodation.
One refugee, Setara, said: “Once I lost everything because of a massive act of violence.
“Once again we will have to leave our homes. When will life have mercy on us?
Areas plagued by conflict, poverty and low community resilience will be hit hardest by the cyclone, according to the charity World Food Program (WFP).
“We are preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best,” said Sheela Matthew, deputy director of the association.
“Many of those most likely to be affected already depend on regular humanitarian assistance from WFP.
“They just can’t afford another disaster.”
WFP said it has enough food to cover the needs of more than 400,000 people in Rakhine state and surrounding areas for a month.
While, Charitable Foundation Chairman Myittar Yaung Chi, said they are still trying to get enough food for the 20 places they have set up for people to stay in the Sittwe area.
He said a massive plan was put in place which included training 100 volunteers on how to alert rescuers using flag warning signals.
The World Health Organization has also provided 40 ambulances and 33 medical teams are on standby.
Claire Nullis of the World Meteorological Organization told a press briefing in Geneva on Friday that the cyclone is “very dangerous” and is associated with strong winds.
“There will be major impacts both before and after landing for potentially hundreds of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable people,” she added.