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  • Myanmar issues cyclone warning

    Published on May 12, 2013

    CYCLONEMyanmar’s government, on Saturday warned that a cyclone now forming in the Bay of Bengal could slam into the country’s western coast next week, raising fears that storm surges or heavy rains could swamp low-lying camps housing tens of thousands of people who fled sectarian violence last year.

    The brunt of the storm is currently barreling northwest toward Bangladesh.

    But its direction could shift northeast and hit Myanmar’s Rakhine state when it makes landfall at midweek, Myanmar’s Meteorology Department and aid officials monitoring the situation said.

    Around 125,000 people are living in cramped tents and makeshift shelters in Rakhine state after two outbreaks of sectarian violence there last year.

    Nearly 70,000 of those displaced are in low-lying areas along the coast that are highly vulnerable to storm surges and flooding, said Ashok Nigam, the United Nations’ Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

    Myanmar’s southern delta was devastated in 2008 by Cyclone Nargis, which killed more than 130,000 people.