Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cyclone Nargis (JTWC designation: 01B, also known as Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Nargis) was a strong tropical cyclone that made landfall in Burma (also known as Myanmar) on May 2, 2008, causing catastrophic destruction and at least 22,500 fatalities[2] with a further 41,000 people still missing, and estimates on the final total of fatalities ranging up to 100,000.[3] It is the deadliest named cyclone in the North Indian Ocean Basin, as well as the second deadliest named cyclone of all time, behind Typhoon Nina. Including unnamed storms, Nargis is the 12th deadliest cyclone of all time. Nargis was the first tropical cyclone to strike the country since Cyclone Mala made landfall in 2006.

The first named storm of the 2008 North Indian Ocean cyclone season, Nargis developed on April 27 in the central Bay of Bengal. Initially it tracked slowly northwestward and, encountering favorable conditions, it quickly strengthened. Dry air weakened the cyclone on April 29, though after beginning a steady eastward motion Nargis rapidly intensified to attain peak winds of at least 165 km/h (105 mph) on May 2; the Joint Typhoon Warning Center assessed peak winds of 215 km/h (135 mph). The cyclone moved ashore in the Ayeyarwady Division of Burma near peak intensity and, after passing near the major city of Yangon (Rangoon), the storm gradually weakened until dissipating near the border of Burma and Thailand

Estimates of the people still missing are 41,000, with 22,464 confirmed dead.[34] A recent government estimate put the number of deaths at 70,000, with some non-governmental organizations estimating that the final toll will be over 100,000.[35] Foreign aid workers concluded further, that 2 to 3 million are homeless, in the worst disaster in Burma’s history, comparable with the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Andrew Kirkwood, country director of the British charity Save The Children, stated: "We're looking at 50,000 dead and millions of homeless, I'd characterise it as unprecedented in the history of Burma and on an order of magnitude with the effect of the tsunami on individual countries. There might well be more dead than the tsunami caused in Sri Lanka."[36] As a result the Burmese government has declared five regions - Yangon, Ayeyarwady, Bago Divisions and Mon and Kayin States currently as disaster areas. Thousands of buildings were destroyed; in the town of Labutta, located in the Ayeyarwady Division, state television reported that 75% of buildings had collapsed and 20% had their roofs ripped off.[37] It is believed that the cyclone is the deadliest tropical cyclone in the world since the 1991 Bangladesh cyclone, which killed over 138,000 people. At least 10,000 people have been reported to have perished in the delta town of Bogale.[2] About two million people are expected to be homeless in the aftermath.

A diplomat in the city of Rangoon spoke to the Reuters news agency, giving them a description of the scene. He said that the area around him looked like a 'war zone' as a result of the cyclone. Burst sewage mains caused the landscape to flood with waste, ruining the rice crop.[38] An official from the United Nations also commented on the situation, at the time of the event. "It's a bad situation. Almost all the houses are smashed. People are in a terrible situation," he said. Another UN representative also spoke on the incident. He reported that "The Irrawaddy delta was hit extremely hard not only because of the wind and rain but because of the storm surge." The Daily Telegraph, a UK newspaper, reported that food prices in Burma could be affected by this disaster.[39]

Thairath Newspaper of Thailand reported that many Burmese people were much displeased as their junta government provided no appropriate warning system. In addition, the mayhem and bloodshed caused by the Cyclone and associated flooding is exacerbated by uncooperative or even criminal (by international standards) responses from the dictatorial government. As an example of alleged human rights oversights, the International Society for Political Prisoner Assistance, located in Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, reported that corrections officers employed with the government fired upon the prisoners of In Seng Prison who were attempting to escape amidst the chaos. It has been reported that 36 prisoners were murdered and about 70 others were injured. The Burmese junta declined both reports.[40]

Wiradet Wirawekhin (th: วรเดช วีระเวคิน), Deputy Director General of Thailand's Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated on 7 May 2008 that, in reference to the report submitted by Bansan Bunnak (th: บรรสาน บุนนาค), Thai ambassador in Yangon, the circumstances in the city were fatally degenerated as well as most firms and markets were concordantly closed. The Deputy Director General also reported that the entire of local subsistences fell beneath the adversity, the consumable goods therein were under the ultimate impecuniousness and the local prices have already been increased two or threefold.[41]

Source : Wikipedia

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