I read this in a weather blog. It sounds like this natural disaster has turned into something far more devastating than nature alone is capable of.
from Daniel Swain blog on weather west give us a update on whats going on down there
May 8th, 2008 at 7:25 pm
The situation in Myanmar continues to worsten. The military junta continues to prevent any aid from reaching those desperately in need. A handful (literally a dozen or two) UN aid workers have finally made it to the hardest-hit areas (albeit with no supplies whatsoever), and the reports coming out are truly horrendous–so bad, in fact, that Cyclone Nargis may end up being one of the worst disasters in modern history. I am reluctant to call this entirely a natural disaster, as many of the deaths that have occurred and continue to occur have come to pass not as a direct result of the storm but from the disease and lack of food and water that has followed. That said, though, The Irrawaddy Delta was essentially wiped clean. Much of the delta no longer exists–not just the human settlements, but the land itself is no longer above sea level. Several cities with populations of more than 80,000 have been completely wiped off the map (including Labutta, Bogalay, and Dedaye), with 100% of structures destroyed and fatality rates approaching 95 percent (NOT including the ongoing disease and food shortages). In Labutta, for example (population 85,000 before the storm), there are fewer than 200 survivors. Countless smaller towns and cities across the region were equally destroyed. The UK’s Sun now reports that the death toll from Nargis (and, inevitably, the complicit junta) could easily exceed 500,000. Half a million deaths. This would dwarf even the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, and this occurred over a much, much smaller geographic area. A region of planet earth no longer exists as it did a week ago–culture and topography have both been obliterated. I’m not sure how much worse the situation there will get, but I don’t want to think what will happen if the remaining population of southern Myanmar is allowed to starve amidst hundreds of thousands of disease-ridden corpses. What is also shocking to me is that the US news media have not covered this story anywhere near to the extent that is merited by the stupefyingly vast degree of the disaster. When is the last time in history that a single event killed potentially over half a million people in the course of a week? If there is any new information tomorrow, I will write more extensively about the situation, but given the fact that the “giant sinkhole” in rural Texas (which swallowed a barn, no less) is more important that the lives of half a million people and the cessation of existence of an entire geographic region on CNN–I don’t know. I just don’t know.
His comments on the US media are exactly what I was thinking.
Found a page from the New Light of Myanmar. This was the day the storm made landfall, and the article is buried on page 15!
"Surface wind speed in squalls may reach 50 mph" A slight understatement.
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