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Burma began recovery efforts Tuesday as hundreds of people were believed missing in the aftermath of a powerful cyclone that caused at least 21 deaths.
Cyclone Mocha crashed into the coastline on Sunday, bringing 130 mph winds, widespread flash flooding and power outages. Burma took the brunt storm, while Bangladesh was spared similar devastation.
Burma state-run television MRTV said Tuesday that 21 people were killed, and 11,532 houses, 73 religious buildings, 47 monasteries, 163 schools, 29 hospitals and clinics, and 112 government buildings were damaged.
Independent media said hundreds more people were believed missing. Many of those reported dead or unaccounted for had been living in ramshackle displacement camps that were reportedly heavily damaged by the storm surge.
POWERFUL CYCLONE ALONG BURMA’S WESTERN COAST INJURES HUNDREDS, AT LEAST 6 DEAD
An aerial view of damage buildings after Cyclone Mocha in Sittwe township, Rakhine State, Burma. A Burma military information office said the storm had damaged houses and electrical transformers in Sittwe, Kyaukpyu, and Gwa townships. (Military True News Information Team via AP)
The extent of the casualties and damage is unclear because telecommunication facilities in the area were damaged by the storm’s high winds and how the military restricts the media.
Local residents walk past damaged buildings after Cyclone Mocha in Sittwe township, Rakhine State, Burma, on Tuesday. (The Associated Press)
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said more than 700,000 people were moved to cyclone shelters or makeshift facilities including schools and mosques.
DEADLY STORM CYCLONE MOCHA HITS BURMA, BANGLADESH
A man rides motorbike past damaged buildings after Cyclone Mocha in Sittwe township, Rakhine State, Burma, on Tuesday. (The Associated Press)
“While the storm didn’t directly hit refugee settlements, as feared, it caused major damage,” Alexia Riviere, emergency coordinator in Bangladesh for Catholic Relief Services, a major aid agency, said in a statement. “The needs will likely be great as we assess the destruction. Our concerns in the wake of the storm include landslides and flash flooding.”
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Riviere described Cyclone Mocha as one of the largest storms to strike Bangladesh in decades, noting that Cyclone Sidr in 2007 killed more than 3,000 people and caused billions of dollars in damage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.