Cyclone Nargis Facts: See How It Affected Myanmar | Kidadl


Cyclone Nargis Facts: See How It Affected Myanmar

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Cyclone Nargis was the deadliest natural disaster to hit Myanmar (Burma) in over half a century.

In early April and May 2008, Nargis hit Myanmar as a category three storm. Category three storm has a wind speed of 111-129 mph (179-208 kph), which can cause damage to homes, and these strong winds are enough to tear off the wall and roofs, cars, and even boats.

Nargis cyclone was the first tropical hurricane in the Indian Ocean to be categorized under a category three hurricane. The reports state that nearly 1.5 million people were affected by this cyclone, leading the Myanmar government to call for international help in dealing with the situation. Please read our article to learn how this worst disaster-affected society, the environment, and other related impacts and international relief funds.

Damage Caused To Society

Myanmar is a country prone to floods, heavy rainfall, cyclones, landslides, earthquake, tsunamis, fire, and drought during mid-monsoon (June-August). However, the category three cyclone is the first of its kind in the country.

Myanmar is located in Southeast Asia with a total area of 261,228 sq mi (676,578 sq km), and its coastline is above 1243 mi (2000 km) long, covering the entire east coast of Bay Bengal.

The cyclone affected Myanmar on May 2, 2008, causing extensive damage to infrastructure and severely affected homes, leaving millions of people homeless. Nargis also led to a humanitarian crisis, as the storm damaged and destroyed hospitals, schools, and other essential services. The death toll was incredibly high due to the lack of adequate shelter and warning systems.

Nearly 75% of buildings are collapsed, over 1,500 temples were destroyed, there was no food for survivors, and many children lost their parents.

The economic impact of Nargis was also devastating. The storm destroyed rice crops and livestock, leading to food shortages and skyrocketing prices. Moreover, most of the workforce depended on rice fields; locals were left without harvest or income.

In addition, the banking sector was also impacted, as many banks were forced to close due to damages sustained during the storm. Nargis is estimated to have cost Myanmar over 10 billion dollars in damages.

The United Nations (UN) reports show that over 78,000 people were killed, 58,000 went on a mission. Reports also stated that 80,000 people were killed in just one town, Labutta, which seemed unrealistic. Overall, the storm caused structural and emotional damage throughout Myanmar.

Damage Caused To Environment

Nargis storm uprooted trees and destroyed wetlands, increasing flooding and landslides. The storm also released large amounts of pollution into the air and water, which posed a severe health risk to the people of Myanmar.

Damage to natural and plantation trees had created a significant impact on the livelihoods and environment of the Ayeyarwady Delta. Mangroves are important income sources for local communities through collecting firewood, harvesting fisheries, and shelter materials. As a result of Nargis, damage caused to Mangrove forests is critical. It affected above 21,000 ha (51,892 ac) of forest plantation and 16,800 ha (41,514 ac) of natural forests.

Nargis destroyed 65% of patty fields, and shrimp and fish factories were destroyed entirely, which is the major economic hub in the country. In addition, rice crops were flooded, and areas were left without food or electricity. 

In the aftermath of the storm, Myanmar has made several efforts to improve its disaster. For example, the country has set up a warning system for future storms and created evacuation plans for risk areas. However, much work still needs to be done to ensure that future disasters impact the population.

On May 8, 2008, the Myanmar government sought the UN's help to represent international aid, as the military government of Myanmar was not prepared with the primary forms of assistance.

International Relief And Aid

Nargis has caused 12 billion dollars worth of damage; the UN launched a large-scale humanitarian operation, international aid, and hired relief workers, which provided food, shelter, and medical assistance to millions of people. Many other organizations also contributed to international aid and support relief efforts, including Save the Children and Oxfam.

The immediate support for the Nargis was provided by the US Agency for International Development, offering 2 million dollars to United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP), and Office of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for shelter support which includes water, food supplies, sanitation, and accommodation.

Now let's read about other international relief funds from various public and private organizations.

Indian Air Force and Indian Navy have supplied over 140 tons (280,000 lb) of tents, medicines, and blankets to storm shelters. They even set up two relief care hospitals with 50 medical personnel.

Through the Thai Red Cross, Thailand sends 30 ton (60,000 lb) medical supplies and 12 ton (24,000 lb) food supplies along with a relief fund of 100,000 dollars.

The United Kingdom and the United States donated over 19 million dollars and 41 million dollars respectively for the relief efforts. Besides, both countries also send an international relief team to help with the relief effort.


Q: How long did Cyclone Nargis last?

A: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) identified the Nargis storm system on April 27, 2008. It was tracked intensified into a category three storm as it made landfall in Myanmar on May 2, 2008. The storm dissipated on May 3, 2008.

Q: How many people died during Cyclone Nargis?

A: Nargis is estimated to have killed over 138,000 people in Myanmar. It makes it the deadliest storm in Southeast Asia since 1970.

Q: Where was Cyclone Nargis located?

A: Nargis made landfall in Myanmar on May 2, 2008. It tracked to southwest Myanmar, leaving the Ayeyarwady Delta region devastating.

Q: What was the wind speed of Cyclone Nargis?

A: Nargis had maximum sustained winds of around 134 mph (215 kph), making it a category three storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Q: How are cyclones formed?

A: Cyclones are created when a mass of warm, moist air rises and condenses into thunderstorms. If the conditions are right, this can lead to a tropical storm.

Q: How many people were homeless after Cyclone Nargis?

A: Nargis left millions of people homeless in Myanmar. It is estimated that up to 2 million people were affected by the storm.

Keerthana is a spectacular writer who loves baking and reading in her free time. She completed her B.E. in Electrical and Electronics from Sri Ramakrishna Engineering College. Soon after, she decided to explore a different career path and tried her hands at Content Marketing. Thanks to her reading, she turned out to be pretty good at it and decided to stick with the profession. She joined GetMyUni for the role of Content Marketing Specialist. During her two years of experience with the company, she got hands-on experience in content optimization, SEO, Google Analytics, editing, and other aspects of Digital Marketing. She is loved for her vibrant personality and fantastic team efforts. Keerthana believes that challenging situations bring out the best in her.

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