The official death toll from the powerful cyclone that hit Myanmar went up to at least 145 peopleincluding 117 members of the Rohingya Muslim minoritystate television reported on Friday.
The figure corresponds to the western state of Rakhinewhere mocha caused most of the damage, but the chain did not specify how many deaths related to the storm there were in the rest of the country.
The count of the victims has been slow in part due to communication problems in the affected areas and the tight control of information by the military government. The board indicated that the unofficial data that there would be more than 400 fatalities are false, but in the absence of independent confirmation, doubts about the real extent of the destruction persist.
Mocha made landfall near the municipality of sittwein Rakhine State, on Sunday afternoon with winds of up to 209 kilometers per hour before weakening inland. The storm, the most destructive to hit the country in at least a decade, caused widespread flash flooding and power outages, while its strong winds tore off rooftops and brought down cellphone towers.
“Millions of people are living in the path of the cyclone and a huge effort is being made to remove debris and provide shelter for those whose homes were damaged or destroyed,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Thursday. “The Rakhine coast was hardest hit by the cyclone, although severe impacts were also reported in the north-west and some damage in (Kachin).”
In its report on Friday, state television MRTV It said four soldiers and 24 Rakhine residents, in addition to 117 Rohingya, were killed, blaming the deaths on the population’s refusal to leave the area despite warnings from authorities before Mocha’s arrival.
Authorities evacuated 63,302 of the 125,789 Rohingya refugees in 17 camps located in 17 municipalities, including Sittwe, since Friday, said MRTV. The network identified the Rohingya as “Bengalis”the name by which the authorities often refer to the minority to suggest that they immigrated to Myanmar illegally.
During this week, the state media have offered extensive coverage of the efforts to help those affected by the military government, which in 2021 launched a coup that wrested power from the elected executive headed Aung San Suu Kyi.
In a large part of the country, it is waging a war against the armed resistance against the military junta.
(With information from AP)
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