ShelterBox Prepares for Cyclone Mahasen

Satellite image of Cyclone Mahasen, NASA's Earth Data.
Satellite image of Cyclone Mahasen, NASA’s Earth Data.

 

ShelterBox has been monitoring the path of Cyclone Mahasen this week as it makes its way to Bangladesh and Myanmar across the Bay of Bengal, threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people. 

Based at the disaster relief charity’s headquarters in the South West of England, ShelterBox’s Operations Department has been preparing to provide emergency shelter and other lifesaving supplies to affected communities.

The cyclone is expected to make landfall somewhere between Bangladesh’s Chittagong and Myanmar’s Maungdaw.

‘Although our partners in Myanmar, Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), have said that the cyclone has weakened to a category one tropical storm, it still has the potential for frightening consequences for many people,’ said Operations Coordinator Dr Alison Ashlin.

‘There could be a storm surge of eight feet in Northern Rakhine in Myanmar, where 140,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are living in makeshift shelters and tents. Maximum winds are predicted at 97 kilometres per hour, this could cause damage to camps. Additionally, rains and thundershowers are also expected to be widespread which might lead to local mudslides, landslides and flooding.’

Even though evacuation plans are underway in both countries led by their governments, humanitarian organisations in the region continue to prepare for an emergency response to the disaster that still could affect many communities.

‘Help families’ 

‘We have good communications with our partners in both countries and are receiving regular updates on the situation,’ added Alison, also a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member who was recently in Myanmar working with ACTED to bring shelter to IDPs displaced by ongoing conflict.

‘SRTs are being mobilised and are on standby and we are also looking into flights and visas. Moreover the logistics team is looking at the quickest way of sending ShelterBox aid to both countries, be it from prepositioned stock in Dubai or elsewhere, or from our headquarters. We have to be proactive in order to help families in need as quickly, efficiently and effectively as possible.’

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