Rediff India Abroad
 Rediff India Abroad Home  |  All the sections


The Web

India Abroad

Sign up today!

Get news updates:
Mobile Downloads
Text 67333
Article Tools
Email this article
Top emailed links
Print this article
Contact the editors
Discuss this Article

Home > India > News > Report

If Myanmar had taken note of India's warning...

May 09, 2008 09:24 IST

Related Articles
Myanmar cyclone toll crosses 3,000; India sends relief
Aid trickles in to cyclone-hit Myanmar
Let us help: Bush tells Myanmar
Myanmar cyclone: Death toll mounts

An analysis by researchers has revealed that Myanmar authorities could have had as much as 72 hours notice of the devastating Cyclone Nargis [Images], which is now estimated to have claimed about 100,000 lives.

A report by ABC News has stated that the comments follow reports that Indian authorities warned Myanmar 48 hours before Nargis hit landfall and that many people in Myanmar learnt of the approaching cyclone from international media.

According to Alan Sharp, manager of tropical cyclone warning services at Australia's Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne, Myanmar authorities would have had access to a number of publicly-accessible websites run by the US military and others that provide cyclone warnings.

'Generally, the forecasts will go out to about 72 hours,' he said.

Australian natural hazards expert Dr Dale Dominey-Howes, from the University of New South Wales, has said that actions of Myanmar's military junta would have played a critical role in the impact of the huge storm surge that the cyclone triggered.

'The junta has either failed to act or have been unable to act appropriately,' he said, adding, 'There's been a catastrophic failure in the social, political, economic and response sectors.'

Available information could have been used to warn against the likelihood of a major storm surge, according to Sharp and Melbourne-based CSIRO storm surge expert Dr Katherine McInnes.

According to the BBC, reports on Myanmar state television say warnings were issued on television and radio several days before the cyclone. Yet people in Myanmar say the severity of the cyclone was unclear and no instructions were given as to what action they should take, adds the BBC.

Officials from the UN disaster reduction agency in Geneva have said that the size of the disaster suggests a lack of a proper early warning system.

According to Dominey-Howes, Myanmar's lack of experience with cyclones would have also contributed to the death toll as it has had not had such a disastrous cyclone for several decades.

'As a consequence, people have got no memory of a previous experience,' he said.