2 May 2008
On 2 May 2008, more than 125,000 men, women, and children lost their lives as Cyclone Nargis devastated the Irrawaddy delta. It should always be remembered as one of the most tragic events in Myanmar history. The combination of government restrictions (primarily the first two weeks) and Western sanctions meant survivors received only a tiny fraction of the help they needed. Many of the poorest families that were affected have still not fully recovered. The immediate aftermath of Cyclone Nargis set in motion certain dynamics that led directly to the positive political changes that took place in Myanmar over 2011-12. Nargis should also serve as a wake-up call. Extreme weather events and earthquakes will certainly strike again, within years not decades.
Photo credit: Verve Photo