3 May 2008: A terrifyingly severe cyclone makes landfall into the impoverished nation of Burma (Myanmar). Dubbed “Asia’s Hurricane Katrina,” Cyclone Nargis produces 215 km/h winds (135 m/h equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane). Initially forecasted to strike Bangladesh (somewhat protected by the mangrove forest) or Burma’s mountainous northwest, Cyclone Nargis became one of Asia’s deadliest storms by hitting land in the low-lying Irrawaddy delta in central Burma and setting off a storm surge that reached 25 miles inland (the picture on the right shows the delta before and after the storm).
Picking and choosing what aid to allow into Burma, the military junta that runs the country should face immense scrutiny. The true degree of devastation unknown, over the course of a week we have watched the death toll rise from 4,000 to over 22,000 with foreign observers saying 100,000 may have perished.
With much needed aid being blocked off by the government, the military leaders appear to be putting their pride and entrenched suspicion of foreigners before the lives of their people. As sad as it may sound, natural disasters often offer a chance for people to witness how great humanity can be with so many willing to help… This sad situation shows that the world cares, but the government in Burma doesn’t. With the number of corpses rising, help HAS to be accepted soon or the rate of disease will grow rampant. I sincerely hope the situation improves.
Without direct access, the only way for me to help the relief effort is monetarily. I have done so through google to Unicef. I hope everyone else does the same.
5/07/08 – 4 miles in 37:06