Deadly Cyclone Hit Most Vulnerable Area of Myanmar

Cyclone Nargis became one of Asia's deadliest storms by hitting land at one of the lowest points in Myanmar and setting off a storm surge that reached 25 miles inland. Some have likened this storm to Katrina going into New Orleans. The storm swept into the low-lying Irrawaddy delta in central Myanmar in early May resulting in the worst disaster ever for the impoverished country. When the storm made landfall early Saturday at the mouth of the Irrawaddy River, its winds pushed a wall of water as high as 12 feet high about 25 miles inland. The delta had lost most of its mangrove forests along the coast to shrimp farms and rice paddies over the past decade removing what scientists say is one of nature's best defenses against violent storms. Another problem is that Myanmar, unlike its neighbors Bangladesh and India, has no radar network to help predict the location and height of surges. Some residents suggested that even if they knew a storm was coming they would not leave because they did not want to lose their property.

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