Myanmar issues cyclone warning as storm threatens thousands displaced in sectarian violence

Published May 11, 2013

| Associated Press

Myanmar's government is warning that a cyclone barreling north in the Bay of Bengal could slam into the country's coast next week.

Humanitarian groups are worried the storm could flood camps in the region that are housing tens of thousands of people who fled sectarian violence last year.

A Meteorology Department official, Tun Lwin, said Saturday that the brunt of the storm is currently heading northwest toward Bangladesh.

But he said its direction could shift northeast and hit Myanmar's Rakhine state in the middle of next week.

Around 125,000 people — mostly Muslims — are living in cramped tents and makeshift shelters in that area.

The U.N. is urging Myanmar's government to move the most vulnerable people to higher ground in case of storm surges.