Three dead as Cyclone Mocha makes landfall in Myanmar
Three dead as Cyclone Mocha makes landfall in Myanmar
A powerful cyclone has hit the coastlines of Bangladesh and Myanmar after intensifying into the equivalent of a category-five storm.

Cyclone Mocha did not make landfall at the sprawling refugee camp in Cox's Bazar as earlier feared, but still tore apart hundreds of makeshift shelters.

At least six people have been reported dead in Myanmar.

Up to 90 per cent of the western Rakhine state's capital city Sittwe has been destroyed, residents told the BBC.

The Burmese military has declared the whole of Rakhine as a natural disaster area.

By late Sunday, the storm had largely passed. Bangladesh's disaster official Kamrul Hasan said the cyclone caused "no major damage", but landslides and floods are still hitting the country. No casualties have been reported in Bangladesh so far.

Myanmar appears to have borne more direct impact, with the storm crashing through houses and cutting power lines in Rakhine state. Myanmar's meteorological department said it pounded through the country at about 209km/h (130 mph).

Camps for displaced Rohingya in the state have also been ripped apart.

Local media reported that a 14-year-old boy were among those reported dead - he was killed by a falling tree in the state.

Electricity and wireless connections were disrupted across much of Sittwe. Footage online showed roofs being blown off houses, telecom towers brought down, and billboards flying off buildings amid teeming rain across the region.

Authorities have declared Rakhine state a natural disaster area, while the Myanmar Red Cross Society said it was "preparing for a major emergency response".

Authorities in Bangladesh had evacuated 750,000 people ahead of the storm.

The streets of Cox's Bazar emptied as the cyclone intensified - the skies darkened, the winds picked up pace and the rains pounded down.

Hundreds of people crammed into a school which had been turned into a temporary cyclone shelter.

Mothers with babies, young children, the elderly and the frail packed into any available space in the classrooms, sleeping on desks and sitting under them.

As many arrived at the shelter in rickshaws and on foot, they brought their livestock - cattle, chickens, goats - as well as mats to sleep on.

They had come from fishing and coastal villages up to two hours away, making a difficult choice.

"I didn't want to leave my house," said Sumi Akter, who lives on a riverbank.

Sumi and others we met here say they have lived through other cyclones in recent years and are resigned to the regular pattern of leaving their homes to the mercy of nature.

Storm surges of up to four metres could swamp villages in low-lying areas. Sumi and others here are fearful their homes may be submerged.