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Cyclone Nargis and Myanmar: A wake up call

Author(s): Lateef Fatimah

Journal: Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock
ISSN 0974-2700

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 106;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Cyclone | disaster preparedness | rebuilding and reconstruction | tsunami

In early May 2008, Cyclone Nargis (CN) tore across the southern coastal regions of Myanmar, pushing a tidal surge through villages and rice paddies. The almost 12 foot wall of water and wind speed of over 200 km/hr killed tens of thousands of people and left hundreds of thousands homeless and vulnerable to injury and disease. Out of the 7.35 million living in the affected townships of Labutta, Bogale, Pyinsalu, Yangon, and many more, approximately 2.4 million were affected. Overall, more than 50 townships were affected by this most devastating cyclone in Asia since 1991. The Delta region, Myanmar′s Rice Bowl, was severely damaged. The low-lying villages were submerged. There was widespread destruction of homes, critical infrastructure of the villages, roads, ferries, water, fuel, and electricity supplies. Our team from Singapore (called Team Singapore) reached out to at least 10 different villages during the time we were there. We ran mobile clinics daily at several locations and these operated from warehouses, temples, schools or any make shift buildings. The journey to the remote villages may take between 1 and 2 hours by road or by boat. We also ran mobile clinics at the township hospital, the rural healthcare centers, and an orphanage.
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