Confront the double-edged sword of Cyclone Amphan by being prepared

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A “super-cyclone” due to hit India’s West Bengal and Bangladesh coastal area today is expected to bring isolated heavy rainfall over all parts of Myanmar, except Taninthayi.
The cyclone ‘Amphan” has been coded yellow by the Myanmar’s Meteorology and Hydrology Department as it is not likely to move towards Myanmar.
However, heavy rains, storm surges and high winds are also expected in northern Rakhine, Chin State and some parts of Myanmar, causing flash floods, landslides in hilly areas and power outages and uprooted trees before the cyclonic storm makes landfall.
Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea during the next 24 hours as tidal waves may occur along with storms at the coastal region.
Myanmar’s hilly areas face landslides following heavy rainfall. Hence, care must be taken to ensure the people are safe from the landslides, and preparations must be taken to quickly respond to the disaster with machinery to clear blocked roads.
The super-cyclone presented a “dual challenge” alongside the coronavirus pandemic, which complicated housing arrangements for evacuees. Physical distancing is needed to prevent the rampant spread of the virus. Internally displaced people are sheltering at their camps and migrant workers who have returned from foreign countries have been placed in quarantine facilities which are now at risk from the severe weather.
Being prepared is crucial to prevent the loss of life. Now, there is the burden of the risk of the spread of the virus. The local authorities must therefore act extraordinarily—making people aware of the need for hygienic practices and social distancing, and ensuring that they are adhered to every step of the way.
Experts have given some important recommendations that must be heeded. The shelters must have masks, sanitizers and proper hand washing facilities with soap for everyone. Physical distancing must be maintained during evacuation and inside the shelters.
Never use phones during strong winds, heavy rains, lightning and thunder.
People need to heed to health guidelines during the outbreak of COVID-19 and to pay attention to the announcements of the Meteorology and Hydrology Department. News updates and assistance are available from the following hotline phone numbers of the ministry—067 3404666, 067340777.
We hope that our people can confront the double-edged sword of a cyclone and the spread of a virus with the same determination.

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