The Cyclone Nargis Cyclone Nargis was the worst natural disaster ever reported in Burma!
Some facts about Burma Burma is 89% Buddhist, 4% Christian and 4% Muslim. Burma was part of Britain's Indian Empire until 1937, when it became a self-governing colony. Burma gained its independence from Britain in 1948. Burma has been run by a military junta since 1962. The Junta agreed to have an election and even though Aung Suan Suu Kyi won 82% of the vote the Junta never gave her power, she is still under house arrest. Burma has a very large coastline backing onto the bay of Bengal.
The Facts Cyclone Nargis, came across the bay of Bengal and landed on the Irrawaddy river on 2 May 2008. The damage was caused by strong winds and heavy rain. What made the damage worse was a 3.6 meter storm surge! A storm surge is a giant bulge of water.
Storm Surges A storm surge may not cause much damage at all, if the coastline slopes into the sea steeply. But, Burma’s coastline slopes into the bay of Bengal only gradually, so, the water travels much further inland. This caused terrible damage.
The Deaths Taken by the Cyclone Nargis On the 4 May, BBC thought that the cyclone killed at least 351 people but it has since been reported that the death toll had reached possibly 300,000. The death toll is very hard to tell because the government stopped counting the deaths to minimize the political fallout.
Immediately after the cyclone The aid to help the Burmese people was held up because the military junta didn’t want the help offered. Some people say they didn’t want help because they didn't want journalists coming in to see really how bad it was. Ships which carried all the aid from places all over the world did not come until much much later after the Cyclone!
Immediately after the Cyclone The other problem was the military restricted the amount of aid workers to come into Burma. The aid workers that did get in weren't allowed to go into the poor areas that needed aid the most! Nargis is the 8th deadliest cyclone of all time, although uncertainly over the death toll could put it much higher.
Since the cyclone Since the tsunami the water is very salty and it may be difficult to grow the rice crops. People are worried about this year but are more worried about next year. This is a picture of the fields before and after the Cyclone!
Since the Cyclone Much of the aid has ended up under the control of village chiefs who are charging people for the supplies. Some villages have only ended up with a bucket and a couple of aluminum cooking bowls. Poverty is still very desperate in areas affected by Nargis.