Francine Uenuma 202.450.9153
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 14, 2013) — Save the Children's field offices are on high alert as Tropical Cyclone Mahasen crosses the Bay of Bengal towards the Bangladesh-Myanmar coast.
The Category 1 storm packs wind of up to 75 mph and is expected to make landfall in Chittagong, Bangladesh, on Thursday morning.
Bangladeshi authorities have sent out warnings to the coastal population in the southeastern area of the country, and advised fishermen not to venture out to sea. In Myanmar, authorities have started evacuating people in Rakhine State, the same area where Cyclone Giri struck in 2010, killing about 45 people and destroying over 20,000 homes.
"The storm is potentially dangerous but it is still too early to say for sure," said Michael McGrath, country director for Save the Children in Bangladesh. "But strong winds and heavy rains could destroy homes and flatten crops at a time where the boro rice in Bangladesh is just ready for harvest. This could affect the source of income for many families, which could have devastating implications for their children such as dropping out of school to work."
Save the Children has responded to cyclones in both Bangladesh and Myanmar, most recently in Cyclone Giri that struck Rakhine State, Myanmar, in 2010.
"We have been informing children in our vulnerable program areas in Rakhine State about what to do during a cyclone including, staying close to their parents or guardians and seeking a safe, protected place with their families during the storm," said Kelland Stevenson, country director for Save the Children in Myanmar.
"Save the Children responded quickly and effectively to the needs of children and their families in the aftermath of Cyclone Giri in 2010, reaching over 135,000 people in our relief work. We have prepared emergency relief supplies so that our field offices in Sittwe and Chittagong will be able to respond swiftly to the needs of affected children and their families."
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