Cyclone Nargis

on Monday, May 05, 2008

PhotoCredit: AFP/Getty Images

Sadly, once again a severe storm has wrecked havoc and taken many lives. This time it is Cyclone Nargis which struck Myanmar on Saturday. At the moment, the death toll is already estimated at 4,000 but ominously, the BBC reports of fears that in one badly affected town, the death toll there alone may reach 10,000 while a further 3,000 are believed to be missing.

The cyclone reached land on the Irrawady Delta which is the most populated region of Myanmar and is also the country's rice bowl or main rice producing area. Hence loss of life and property could also be followed by food shortages throughout the country.

The amazing thing is that Myanmar's closed and secretive military junta government still insisted in hampering international aid from arriving without negotiations which are aimed at restricting movement and monitoring their activities. As I type this almost 48 hours after the cyclone hit, only several small recce trips by UN officials have been agreed to. Politics seem to be a hindrance even to helping the suffering victims.

Is this cyclone another sign of climate change? It would be impossible to say that with 100 % certainty but I believe so. I do not recall any cyclone as severe hitting Myanmar in the last century. Certainly, as a result of climate change, we will see more of these devastating storms.

Will it make a difference to the oppressive political regime? Sadly, probably not as long as their leaders are more concerned about their own well-being and position than the needs of their people.

In Malaysia, we have a large number of Myanmarese. All of them are here to try to make a better economic future for themselves and their families and some are here to escape persecution and political oppression. Some are here legally but most are probably here illegally having trekked through hundreds of kilometers of jungle and possibly braving the sea in small boats. They are very much at the bottom of the pecking order in Malaysia but they have generally made a reputation for themselves as hard workers and honest too. As difficult as their working conditions are in Malaysia, their job provides a hope for a better future for themselves and the families they left behind in Myanmar. Today, many will have the extra burden of fear and uncertainty and even grief as they await news and worry about their families at home.

Join me in praying for them; praying for many lives to be spared, for international medical and rescue help to arrive quickly, for political change and healing for the country and the people.


Tai said...

Lets hope the healing can begin quickly.
Such a loss.

Molly said...

Those poor people....Global warming is going to get us all! I'm praying with you.

On a limb with Claudia said...

I saw this and thought of you - I am glad this didn't happen in Malaysian - It's still awful. Really awful.

tsduff said...

This is unbelievable. The scope of the damage and loss of life is stunning in its enormity. I can't begin to imagine the grief and sorrow in that part of the world right now.

Gerbil said...

words are inadequate. i fervently hope the international aid societies are able to help very soon.

Joyce's Ramblings said...

I definately will be praying with you. All those people lost and the military junta still rule and help can't get in. In this situation all I can do is pray.

Gina said...

LGS. I hope you are feeling better. this is so incredible. Like a nightmare for these people and their families. Absolutely unbelievable. I can't even imagine loss of life on that scale. It reminds me of the tidal waves...I am praying for those people that families will find each other and the people will find peace and safety and their needs will be met. thank you for your update. You and your family are also in my prayers.

the walking man said...

The death toll gets no better. Aid to the waterless hungry gets no better. The political climate gets no better.
The intensity of hurricanes and typhoons is bound to get stronger on warmer ocean water.
Prayer is good, there is no better spiritual remedy.
Improving the lot of the immigrant Myanamarese is best, they will tend to the resources necessary to rebuild and take back their country.

Peace Squirrel


Janice Thomson said...

Such terrible damage and loss of life. How awful the government turns a deaf ear to the suffering of its own people. Hopefully help arrives soon and the healing process can begin.

Dr.John said...

So much for governments instituted for the good of the people. We live in a sad world when a natural disaster is compounded by political stupidity.

Claire said...

Today the news tells us "more than 10,000 dead". Everything about this story is awful. I pray with you.

Ruth D~ said...

This was and still is such a sad tragedy. Nature and her fury.

I'd not be so hasty to blame this on global warming. Sometimes I think we forget that nature can have , and always has had a wild side.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...


Thank you.

Not Malaysia but close enough that I feel great empathy for the plight of the Myanmarese.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

yes, once again the scale of the disaster is beyond our comprehension.

the latest is that aid agencies have been asked to help but it remains unclear if they have to wait for permits and other clearance. It has been 5 days now without substantial aid reaching some of the victims.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. Prayer can change things.

thank you for your prayers. Both my mom and I are well. I thank God that I did not need an operation on my spine....just another month of physiotherapy.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

The political system in Myanmar is oppressive and has made Myanmar one of the poorest countries in South East Asia despite the fact that it is resource rich. A final solution must involve political change. Prayer can bring change.

It's practically a triple tragedy. We continue to pray for international aid but it is already 5 days since the cyclone struck.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

dr john,
We need a political system and we need an economic system but in a fallen world, they contribute most to the problems of the world.

unfortunately, we can expect the death toll to be much higher.

I agree we cannot prove that climate change had a direct role in this but over the last three years, the number and severity of such tropical storms have been increasing significantly. Also some places which lie outside the storm zones have been threatened or even hit by these storms for the first time in recorded history. Insurance companies tell us that the damage from storms has been increasing every year for the last 5 years. I think the case for climate change and storms is pretty solid.

squirrelmama said...

Prayers go out to ALL who suffered losses, pain and destruction. I hope there will be peace, restoration and calmness.....and wholeness soon.

evalinn said...

This is so sad, thank u for bringing up the subject and not letting us forget!

A Happy Downtowner said...

Such a terrible thing to happen but it's even more frustrating when you hear that the much needed aid cannot get to who needs it the most because of politics and logistics! I was watching an european news program this morning and it confirmed that whatever comes out from the government is definitely NOT to be believed. It's much worse.

Many people don't think about that when they criticize countries who donate money/supplies and yet, can't get the stuff there.

I don't pray per se but my thoughts have been added with yours.

meggie said...

It seems incredible that the powers that be, would hinder help & assistance in this hour of dire need.
I send positive thoughts for all the people.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I join you in that wish and hope.

tragedies happen so often nowadays that we begin to filter them out of our minds. I will try to remind the world of the human face of this tragedy near here, just as you would do the same for tragedies near you.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

happy downtowner,
You are absolutely correct. Someone from a well developed country like Canada or USA cannot imagine the logistical problems in a country like Myanmar and their lack of reserves to deal with a natural catastrophe. ....and also cannot imagine the political bureaucracy and corruption that can even now be a further hindrance.

Can you imagine that one aid agency was told that the government was willing to receive assistance in hard cash but won't let them bring in personnel or supplies? Would you trust them?

Odat said...

I pray for peace!

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

I send my sympathies and wishes for hope and health to the people of Myanmar -- may the hubris and greed of those in power crumble, and may the help offered reach those who need it most.

Steffi said...

Poor peoples!I heard about it on T.V.!Terrible situation!

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