Cyclone Giri destroyed 2800 homes, dozens of government buildings and two bridges. The storm slammed into the coastal state of Rakhine on Friday with winds of up to 193 kilometres per hour. The storm was heading northeast through the central part of the country and is forecast to “abate into a moderate storm”, the Burmese newspaper said, quoting the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.
On Friday the Red Cross reported that authorities in Rakhine state had prepared disaster relief camps in preparation for the storm as the Meteorology office predicted sea levels could swell by as much as 3.7 metres .
Burma (also known as Myanmar) is frequently hit by tropical storms and in 2008 was battered by Cyclone Nargis, which left 138,000 people dead or missing, mostly in the southwest delta region.
Nargis unleashed winds of 240km/h and storm surges up to four metres high, sweeping away thousands of homes, flooding rice fields with salt water and ravaging schools and hospitals.
Burma’s military government faced international criticism for its response to the disaster. It was accused of blocking emergency aid and initially refusing to grant access to humanitarian workers and supplies.
Thousands homeless after Burma cyclone
A cyclone that hit western Burma has forced thousands of people from their homes, while the government tried to assess the damage and send relief supplies.
Cyclone Giri struck the west coast in Burma, near the town of Kyaukphyu on Friday. There has been no official announcement from the military government on damage or casualties but a senior official in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement said there had been at least one death, a girl killed by a falling tree.
Coastal regions of Burma are often hit by strong storms. More than 130,000 people were killed or went missing when Cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy river delta in May 2008. Residents of the region said damage was extensive and there had been no systematic relief work.
Donate for Burma Cyclone Victims at Caritas Australia. More in formation please contact The Catholic Agency for International Aid and Development. Toll Free 1800 024 413.