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Cyclone Mora ravages Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh

DHAKA: Cyclone Mora battered refugee camps in Bangladesh yesterday where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar have taken refuge from violence at home, as the authorities moved at least 350,000 Bangladeshis out of harm's way.

It struck the island of Saint Martin and Teknaf in the coastal Bangladeshi district of Cox's Bazar, where officials said some 200,000 people were evacuated to shelters.

The islands are a few kilometres from the Myanmar border and the refugee camps for Rohingya who have fled their homeland.

In Chittagong district, about 150,000 people were evacuated.

Rohingya community leader Shamsul Alam said "most of the temporary houses in the camps have been flattened".

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka yesterday appealed for volunteers to help with a massive recovery operation in the wake of devastating flooding that left 183 dead and tens of thousands without clean drinking water. The Disaster Management Centre said nearly 600,000 people had been forced out of their homes.

Water Supply Minister Rauff Hakeem said 40 per cent of those affected did not have access to piped drinking water and there was an urgent need to clean contaminated wells.

"Our workers have volunteered to join a major cleanup," the minister told reporters in Colombo. - WIRE SERVICES

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