Three Die in Cyclone Maarutha

By San Yamin Aung 18 April 2017

RANGOON — Three people were killed in Irrawaddy Division as Cyclone Maarutha made landfall on Arakan State’s coast and swept through southern coastal Burma on Sunday.

One person was killed in Hinthada Township—about whom no information has yet been released—and two women died in Labutta Township after being electrocuted by a live wire damaged in the storm, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

The cyclone hit the seaside township of Thandwe in Arakan State, crossing Arakan and Shan states, and Magwe and Mandalay divisions on Sunday night, with 45 to 50 kilometers per hour (28 to 32 miles), said U Kyaw Moe Oo, deputy director general of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH).

The storm also brought strong winds and heavy rains to other divisions and states including Irrawaddy, Rangoon, Pegu and Mon. It weakened on Monday morning.

According to the ministry’s data, the cyclone blew out the roofs of 81 houses, and a school in Thandwe. In Munaung Township of the same state, about 17 houses, 11 schools and three monasteries suffered damage.

The winds also caused damage in Taungup, Kyaukphyu, Ramree, and Ngapali townships. In Irrawaddy Division, a house collapsed and the roofs of four other houses were blown out. A house also reportedly collapsed in Magwe.

Cyclone Maarutha has faded, said U Kyaw Moe Oo, though a potential storm forming in the Bay of Bengal needs to be watched until mid-May.

“There was not a high number of casualties as the cyclone’s wind speed was not strong enough and also awareness and experience of storms have increased,” he added.

“As there were quick updates from both state and private media, the news about the storms informed people well and could have helped reduce the damage.”