Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Changing climate hurts Myanmar

Aye Sapay Phyu and Sann Oo in the Myanmar Times: Myanmar has suffered more than almost any other country in the world from the harmful effects of climate change, according to a report issued as world leaders meet for the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen.

A survey issued by the NGO Germanwatch on December 8 placed Myanmar second on a list of countries badly affected by extreme weather events during the period 1990-2008. For the year 2008 alone, Myanmar featured in the top three worst-hit countries, together with Yemen and Vietnam, AFP reported. Bangladesh, Yemen, the Philippines and Honduras also suffered greatly during the period in question.

“While Vietnam and the Philippines are relatively regularly affected through storms and flooding, as can be seen in the Climate Risk Index editions 2006, 2007 and 2008, the high figures for Myanmar and Yemen are exceptional,” the report said.

The study takes into account a range of factors, including the total number of deaths from storms, floods and other weather extremes, deaths per 100,000, losses in absolute US dollar terms, and losses as a percentage of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

…Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar in May 2008, was the most devastating storm in the country’s history, causing the death of 85,000 people, with a further 54,000 people missing, the loss of K3.3547 trillion in the public sector and K8.3800 trillion in the private sector, according to official Myanmar government figures....

Cyclone Nargis in May 2008, hitting Myanmar. Shot by Mohd Nor Azmil Abdul Rahman, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

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