Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Nargis Disaster 2008

detailed graphic depicting cyclones landfall
  • Cyclone Nargis made landfall on May 5, 2008
  • Nargis is the first tropical cyclone of the North Indian Ocean 2008 season
  • Cyclone Nargis had sustained winds of 130 mph and gusts of 150-160 mph, which is the equivalent of a strong Category 3 or minimal Category 4 hurricane
  • An estimated 2.4 million people were severely affected by Cyclone Nargis
  • Although very strong winds were responsible for much of the damage, flooding and mudslides were also possible due to heavy rainfall
  • Myanmar's social welfare minister told reporters on May 5 that 95 percent of the homes in Bogalay had been destroyed
  • The destruction of lives and property was blamed on the 12 foot (3.6 meter) high storm surge that accompanied Cyclone Nargis ¹

Burma, also known as Myanmar, is one of Asia's poorest countries. A largely rural, densely forested country, it is endowed with extremely fertile soil and has important offshore oil and gas deposits. However, its people remain very poor and are getting poorer. Burma is ruled by a military junta which suppresses almost all dissent. The Burmese media have been strictly controlled since the 1962 military coup, filtering not only criticism of the government but most bad news, including reports of natural disasters.²

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Previous Cyclones in Burma / Myanmar

  • NOAA – Tropical Cyclone Mala in Myanmar, March 5, 2006. Maximum sustained winds near 185 km/hr (100 knots or 115 mph); 22 reported fatalities in Burma (The Irrawaddy)
  • International Federation of Red Cross – Tropical Cyclone Mala in Myanmar

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