Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Cyclone Whacked Myanmar Devastatingly

Was Burma ready when Cyclone Nargis hit its shores four days ago? Why weren't the general public warned? Such severe cyclone do not hit the land immediately as it would be a slow built-up over a number of days.

Were the army officials sleeping when the storm was ravaging strongly day by day?

The wind not only came in strong but a tidal wave of 12 feet high came upon the shore, hitting the Irrawaddy Delta where millions built their homes.

The Indian Meteorological Department, that was commissioned to alert the surrounding countries on any dangerous cyclones or earthquakes coming along the way, had managed to track the Cyclone Nargis on 2 May 2008 and alerted Burmese government agencies but somewhere somehow, such news were not disseminated fast enough to warn the general public.

Today, the cyclone aftermath has brought about 50,000 deaths, tens of thousands missing (would only be considered dead once body is found) and at least, a million homeless. This is just as bad as the 2004 tsunami.

The vast land comprise many paddy fields have been destroyed as well. Considered as the main rice bowl for many Burmese, life could be really hard if the military ruled government doesn't act fast.

The not-so-easyto-penetrate country of Burma (or Myanmar) due to its tight control by the military junta have called on international aids. The call was made quite late as the military found it hard to access certain places to assess the situation. After realising that it was really really bad, they knew that they were ill-prepared for it. Foreign reporters are rarely found in Burma due to restrictions and this has resulted in lesser news updates on the cyclone tragedy. Nobody really knew how bad it was except for the military and the citizens caught in it.

On one hand international aid agencies need to supply medical supplies together with their rescuers / medical personnel but visas weren't approved as fast for such personnel to enter Burma. So how?

It was reported that there was already a shortage of rice largely in Asia and this has to happen to Burma, where it does export milled rice too. This will surely drive the commodity's price upwards. Thailand's plan to form a rice cartel similar to OPEC, seeing that rice will be a much sought after food, has been dropped due to this tragedy happening in Burma.

Will Burma's military junta be awakened or the Burmese will finally rise up to demand a much better life?

Reading: The Irrawaddy News Magazine
Tags: Burma, Burmese, Myanmar, Cyclone Nargis, Irrawaddy Delta, Rice Cartel, OPEC, International Aid Agency, Military Junta, Military Ruled



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