Mangrove Loss Left Burma Exposed to Cyclone


yesterday in Yangon (formerly Rangoon), Getty Images.

When we spoke with Cameron Sinclair earlier today, Editor Meg wondered if there were environmental factors that might have had an impact. Cameron responded that "Mangroves were cut down, magnifying this disaster."

This is confirmed by Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, who, according to the BBC, said that the loss of mangroves had exacerbated the tragedy.

"Encroachment into mangrove forests, which used to serve as a buffer between the rising tide, between big waves and storms and residential areas; all those lands have been destroyed," the AFP news agency reported him as saying. "Human beings are now direct victims of such natural forces."


Lining up for water, Yangon, Getty Images

Burma's minister for relief and resettlement, Maung Maung Swe, said more deaths were caused by the cyclone's storm surge rather than the winds which reached 190km/h (120mph).

"The wave was up to 12ft (3.5m) high and it swept away and inundated half the houses in low-lying villages," the minister said. "They did not have anywhere to flee." ::BBC

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