UN: Cyclone Mahasen threatens 8.2 million people

Associated Press
An internally displaced Rohingya boy wraps himself with a sarong as he walks in rain at a makeshift camp for Rohingya people in Sittwe, northwestern Rakhine State, Myanmar, ahead of the arrival of Cyclone Mahasen, Tuesday, May 14, 2013. The U.N. said the cyclone, expected later this week, could swamp makeshift housing camps sheltering tens of thousands of Rohingya.  Myanmar state television reported Monday that 5,158 people were relocated from low-lying camps in Rakhine state to safer shelters. But far more people are considered vulnerable. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

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SITTWE, Myanmar (AP) — The U.N. says a cyclone churning through the Indian Ocean appears to have weakened but could still bring "life-threatening" conditions to 8.2 million people along the coasts of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Cyclone Mahasen is forecast to reach land early Friday and has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm, the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Wednesday.

Much attention is focused on western Myanmar, where it is feared that heavy rains will swamp low-lying camps housing tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled sectarian violence last year.

Myanmar's southern delta was devastated in 2008 by Cyclone Nargis, which swept away entire farming villages and killed more than 130,000 people.

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