Cyclone Mahasen made for an ominous sight as it bore down on the Bangladeshi coastline on Thursday. It claimed around 12 lives and caused extensive damage, but the most palpable emotion was relief—the storm had weakened by the time it made landfall, and it and missed vulnerable refugee camps on the Myanmar coast.
Bangladesh and Myanmar had both scrambled to evacuate their most vulnerable populations. Humanitarian groups were most concerned about 70,000 members of Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority, who had fled to unprotected coastal camps after being targeted in religious attacks by the Buddhist majority.
The total number of dead as a result of the cyclone has not yet been established. It was blamed earlier this week for capsizing several boats carrying around 100 refugees in Myanmar. 21 have died (paywall) and dozens are still unaccounted for. Government officials in Sri Lanka also said eight people were killed on Wednesday.