Cyclone Nargis, according to the Wikipedia

Cyclone Nargis, according to the Wikipedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cyclone Nargis (JTWC designation: 01B, also known as Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Nargis) was a strong tropical cyclone that caused the deadliest natural disaster in the recorded history of Burma (also known as Myanmar). The cyclone made landfall in the country on May 2, 2008, causing catastrophic destruction and at least 34,273 fatalities with a further 27,838 people still missing. However, Labutta Township alone was reported to have 80,000 dead and some have estimated the death toll may be well over 100,000. The official Red Cross estimate is between 68,833 and 127,990 people killed.

Nargis is the deadliest named cyclone in the North Indian Ocean Basin, as well as the second deadliest named cyclone of all time, behind Typhoon Nina. Including unnamed storms, Nargis is the 8th deadliest cyclone of all time. Nargis was the first tropical cyclone to strike the country since Cyclone Mala made landfall in 2006.

Yellow flower.JPG

The cyclone name “Nargis” (نرگس, IPA: næɵr-ɡɵs),

is a Persian and Urdu word meaning daffodil.

The first named storm of the 2008 North Indian Ocean cyclone season, Nargis developed on April 27 in the central area of Bay of Bengal. Initially it tracked slowly northwestward and, encountering favorable conditions, it quickly strengthened. Dry air weakened the cyclone on April 29, though after beginning a steady eastward motion Nargis rapidly intensified to attain peak winds of at least 165 km/h (105 mph) on May 2; the Joint Typhoon Warning Center assessed peak winds of 215 km/h (135 mph). The cyclone moved ashore in the Ayeyarwady Division of Burma near peak intensity and, after passing near the major city of Yangon (Rangoon), the storm gradually weakened until dissipating near the border of Burma and Thailand.

Relief efforts were slowed for political reasons as Myanmar’s military rulers initially resisted aid. U.S. President George W. Bush said that an angry world should condemn the way Myanmar’s military rulers are handling the aftermath of a devastating cyclone. Myanmar’s ruling party finally accepted aid a few days later from the U.S after India’s request was accepted. Relief efforts were then further hampered by the 7.9 Mw magnitude Sichuan earthquake

Storm history

 

Nargis 2008 track.pngIn the last week of April 2008, an area of deep convection and concern persisted near a low-level circulation in the Bay of Bengal about 1150 km (715 mi) east-southeast of Chennai, India. With good outflow and low wind shear, the system slowly organized as its circulation consolidated. At 0300 UTC on April 27, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) classified the system as a depression,[12] and nine hours later the system intensified into a deep depression. At the same time, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center classified it as Tropical Cyclone 01B. With a ridge to its north, the system tracked slowly north-northwestward as banding features improved. At 0000 UTC, 5:30 AM Indian Standard Time, on April 28, the IMD upgraded the system to Cyclonic Storm Nargis while it was located about 550 km (340 mi) east of Chennai, India.

 

 

Cyclone Nargis flooding before-and-after.jpg

On April 28 Nargis became nearly stationary while located between ridges to its northwest and southeast. That day the JTWC upgraded the storm to cyclone status, or the equivalence of a minimal hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. Around the same time, the IMD upgraded Nargis to a severe cyclonic storm. The cyclone developed a concentric eye feature, which is an eyewall outside the inner dominant eyewall, with warm waters aiding in further intensification. Early on April 29, the JTWC estimated Nargis reached winds of 160 km/h (100 mph), and at the same time the IMD classified the system as a very severe cyclonic storm. Initially, the cyclone was forecast to strike Bangladesh or southeastern India. Subsequently, the cyclone became disorganized and weakened due to subsidence and drier air; as a result, deep convection near the center markedly decreased. At the same time, the storm began a motion to the northeast around the periphery of a ridge to its southeast.The circulation remained strong despite the diminishing convection, though satellite intensity estimates using the Dvorak technique indicated the cyclone could have weakened to tropical storm status. By late on April 29, convection had begun to rebuild,though immediate restrengthening was prevented by increased wind shear.

 On May 1, after turning nearly due eastward, Cyclone Nargis began rapidly intensifying, due to greatly improved outflow in association with an approaching upper-level trough. Strengthening continued as it developed a well-defined eye with a diameter of 19 km (12 mi), and early on May 2 the JTWC estimated the cyclone reached peak winds of 215 km/h (135 mph) as it approached the coast of Burma. At the same time, the IMD assessed Nargis as attaining peak winds of 165 km/h (105 mph). Around 1200 UTC on May 2, Cyclone Nargis made landfall in the Ayeyarwady Division of Burma. The storm gradually weakened over land, with its proximity to the Andaman Sea preventing rapid weakening. Its track turned to the northeast due to the approach of a mid-latitude trough to its northwest, passing just north of Yangon with winds of 130 km/h (80 mph). Early on May 3 the IMD issued its final advisory on the storm. It quickly weakened after turning to the northeast toward the rugged terrain near the Burma-Thailand border, and after deteriorating to minimal tropical storm status, the JTWC issued its last advisory on Nargis.

Impact

Nargis TRMM rain.jpg

The United Nations estimated in its report that 1.5 million people were “severely affected” by this cyclone. Estimates of the people still missing are 27,838, with 38,491 confirmed dead. A recent government estimate put the number of deaths at 70,000, with some non-governmental organizations estimating that the final toll will be over 100,000. Foreign aid workers concluded further, that 2 to 3 million are homeless, in the worst disaster in Burma’s history, comparable with the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Andrew Kirkwood, country director of the British charity Save The Children, stated: “We’re looking at 50,000 dead and millions of homeless, I’d characterise it as unprecedented in the history of Burma and on an order of magnitude with the effect of the tsunami on individual countries. There might well be more dead than the tsunami caused in Sri Lanka.” As a result the Burmese government has declared five regions – Yangon, Ayeyarwady, Bago Divisions and Mon and Kayin States currently as disaster areas. Thousands of buildings were destroyed; in the town of Labutta, located in the Ayeyarwady Division, state television reported that 75 percent of buildings had collapsed and 20 percent had their roofs ripped off.One report indicated that 95 percent of buildings in the Irrawaddy Delta area were destroyed. It is believed that the cyclone is the deadliest tropical cyclone in the world since the 1991 Bangladesh cyclone, which killed over 138,000 people. At least 10,000 people have been reported to have perished in the delta town of Bogale.

A diplomat in the city of Rangoon spoke to the Reuters news agency, giving them a description of the scene. He said that the area around him looked like a ‘war zone’ as a result of the cyclone. Burst sewage mains caused the landscape to flood with waste, ruining the rice crop. An official from the United Nations also commented on the situation, at the time of the event. “It’s a bad situation. Almost all the houses are smashed. People are in a terrible situation,” he said. Another UN representative also spoke on the incident. He reported that “The Irrawaddy delta was hit extremely hard not only because of the wind and rain but because of the storm surge.” The Daily Telegraph, a UK newspaper, reported that food prices in Burma could be affected by this disaster.

Myanmar Disaster Topography.png

Woradet Wirawekhin (th: วรเดช วีระเวคิน), Deputy Director General of Thailand’s Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated on 7 May 2008 that, in reference to a report submitted by Bansan Bunnak (th: บรรสาน บุนนาค), Thai ambassador in Yangon, the conditions in the city had degenerated and that most businesses and markets were closed. The Deputy Director General also reported that the locals also faced even more increasing adversity in basic subsistence; local food prices have already been increased two- or threefold.

On May 13, the United Nations warned that a second cyclone may be developing that could hit the Irrawaddy Delta. The disturbance is currently situated over land northwest of Yangon and is moving northwest towards the Bay of Bengal, but is being weakened by the interaction with the Arakan Yoma.

Aftermath

International relief

On May 6, 2008, the Burma government representation in New York formally asked the United Nations for help. But in other ways, it remains resistant to the most basic assistance. As of May 7, 2008, the government of Burma has not officially endorsed international assistance, but stated that they are, “willing to accept international assistance, preferably bilateral, government to government.” The biggest challenge at present is obtaining visas for entry into the country.

According to Thai Rath Newspaper of Thailand on 8 May 2008.[52] In the afternoon (Bangkok time) of 7 May 2008, the Burmese junta permitted Italian flights containing relief supplies from the United Nations, and twenty-five tonnes of consumable goods, to land in Myanmar. However, many nations and organizations hope to deliver assistance and relief to Burma without delay; most of their officials, supplies and stores are waiting in Thailand and at the Yangon airport, as the Burmese junta declines to issue visas for many of those individuals. These political tensions raise the concern that some food and medical supplies might become unusable, even before the Burmese junta officially accepts the international relief effort.

India

India, one of the few countries which maintains close relations with Myanmar, launched Operation Sahayata[ under which two Indian Navy ships and two Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft supplied the first international relief material to the cyclone-hit country. The two aircraft carried 4 tonnes of relief supplies each while the Indian Navy transported more than 100 tonnes of relief material. On May 8, the IAF dispatched third air consignment carrying over 32 tonnes of relief material including tents, blankets and medicines. India plans to send more aid to Myanmar. In a separate development, Myanmar denied Indian search and rescue teams and media access to critical cyclone-hit areas. India released a statement saying it had requested Myanmar to accept international aid especially that from the United States, to which Myanmar agreed. According to various reports, Indian authorities had warned Myanmar about the danger that Cyclone Nargis posed 48 hours before it hit the country’s coast.

Thailand

Thailand has sent $100,000 USD in supplies, thirty tonnes of medical supplies and twelve tonnes of food supplies from Thai Red Cross. Additionally, Chaiya Sasomsap, Minister of Public Health of Thailand, stated that the Government has already sent medical supplies valued more than one billion baht ($31.3 million) to Burma. Furthermore, the Government of Thailand dispatched, upon the permission of the Burmese junta, twenty medical teams and twenty quick communicable disease suppression units. Samak Sundaravej stated that “if Myanmar gives the green light allowing us to help, our Air Force will provide C-130 aircraft to carry our teams there. This should not be precipitately carried out, it has to have the permission of their government.” On 7 May 2008, the aforementioned units, with their subordinate airplanes, were permitted to land in Yangon, carrying drinking water and construction materials.

United States

The first U.S. disaster aid flight arrived on May 12th. The U.S. embassy in Burma has released $250,000, with an additional $3 million coming from USAID bringing the total US relief to $3.25 million. The United States Navy has also stated they are prepared to move their assets when they are given the go-ahead. The United States is currently urging Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, India and China to use any influence they have with Myanmar to allow relief teams into the cyclone-stricken nation. The Myanmar government is currently blocking certain relief agencies from operating in its territory and not issuing visas quickly enough to individuals from certain aid agencies. The first U.S. relief airlift arrived in Myanmar on Monday after prolonged negotiations with the country’s isolationist junta. An unarmed military C-130 cargo plane, packed with supplies, flew out of the Thai air force base of Utapao and landed in Yangon. The supplies were transferred to Myanmar army trucks.

Malaysia

Malaysia is to channel US$1 million (RM3.2 million) in financial assistance and RM500,000 in humanitarian aid to Myanmar. Humanitarian aid would be transported by Hercules C130 and would include 5,000 blankets, 30 tents and RM100,000 worth of T-shirts, batik sarong, biscuits, instant noodles and medicines. Mercy Malaysia, a volunteer relief organization in Malaysia, is sending a four-member relief team to Yangon, Myanmar to assess the situation in the wake of Cyclone Nargis. They would start looking into areas such as shelter, clean water, sanitation and emergency medical treatment.

Other relief efforts

As of May 8, 2008, the Foundation for the People of Burma has a team on the ground in Rangoon and beyond providing direct assistance to thousands of refugees. Since this organization is administered by Buddhist volunteers and already has tacit permission from the Burmese government, all donations go directly for supplies. Foundation for the People of Burma.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has pledged $189,000 for relief.[68] The Red Cross has also called for an appeal of a further $6 million. Red Cross spokesman Matt Cochrane said that cyclone survivors need everything. They need emergency shelter to keep them dry, including food supplies. He says stagnant waters are a perfect breeding ground for the malaria mosquito, so insecticide-treated nets are needed.The Red Cross suffered a setback when a boat carrying supplies sank when it hit a submerged tree. Everyone aboard survived, but most of the cargo was lost. Ten Red Cross/Red Crescent relief flights carrying medical and shelter supplies were due to land in Yangon on 12 May.

Save the Children, one of the few agencies allowed to work in Myanmar, said the toll would likely sharply grow in the next few days as help reaches isolated areas.

Doctors without Borders – MSF landed a plane full of 40 tons of relief and medical supplies in Rangoon on Monday. After clearing customs the supplies were transferred to local MSF warehouses. They have approximately 200 workers in the region, many whom have been involved in long term projects there and were already in the region.

Country ContributionS
Flag of Australia Australia AUD $25 million (USD $23.5 million)[75] and 31 tonnes of supplies.[76]
Flag of Bangladesh Bangladesh 20 tonnes of food, medicine
Flag of Belgium Belgium EUR 250,000 (USD $387,000) and EUR 100,000 from Flanders
Flag of Brunei Brunei Relief materials[77]
Flag of Cambodia Cambodia USD $50,000[78]
Flag of Canada Canada Up to USD $2 million in emergency relief, $500,000 of which is for the Red Cross, Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) is on standby; additional aid to come[79]
Flag of the People's Republic of China China USD $5.3 million in aid and relief materials (including 3 flights using Jade Cargo each consisting of 60 tonnes of aid)
Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic USD $154,000
Flag of Denmark Denmark USD $2.1 million[80]
Flag of Europe European Union USD $3.0 million
Flag of Finland Finland EUR 300,000 (USD $464,000)[81]
Flag of France France 1,500 tons of medicine, food, and water;[70] USD $775,000
Flag of Germany Germany USD $3.0 million
Flag of Greece Greece USD $200,000, medicine and humanitarian aid[82]
Flag of Hungary Hungary USD $300,000, medicine, food, humanitarian aid
Flag of India India More than 140 tonnes of relief materials; tents, food supplies, medicines
Flag of Indonesia Indonesia USD $1 million in cash and another aid in foods and medicines
Flag of Ireland Ireland EUR 1,000,000 (USD $1,550,000)
Flag of Israel Israel USD $100,000, food and medical supplies by private organizations
Flag of Japan Japan JPY 28 million in tents and generators = USD $267,000; USD $10 million through UN World Food Program & USD $570,000 pledged assistance[83]
Flag of Malaysia Malaysia USD $4,100,000
Flag of the Republic of Macedonia Macedonia USD $50,000[84]
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands EUR 1,000,000 (USD $1,550,000)
Flag of New Zealand New Zealand NZD 1.5 million (USD $1.15 million)[85]
Flag of Norway Norway Up to USD $1.96 million[86]
Flag of Pakistan Pakistan Relief materials and setting up of a mobile hospital in the affected region upon approval of Burmese government.[87]
Flag of the Philippines Philippines Medical workers and $500,000 USD and relief goods in cash[88]
Flag of Russia Russia 80 tonnes of food, generators, medicine, tents and blankets[89]
Flag of San Marino San Marino EUR 30,000[90]
Flag of Singapore Singapore USD $200,000[91]
Flag of Spain Spain USD $775,000 donation to World Food Programme
Flag of Sweden Sweden Logistical support and water cleaning systems
Flag of Switzerland Switzerland USD $475,000 (initial)
Flag of Thailand Thailand USD $100,000, food and medical supplies (initial)[92]
Flag of Turkey Turkey USD $1,000,000 from Ministery of Foreign Affairs, USD $600,000 from Turkish Red Crescent[93]
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom GBP 5 million (USD $9.9 million)[94]
Flag of the United States United States USD $16.25 million,[95] 6 C-130s, USS Essex strike group[96]
Flag of Vietnam Vietnam USD $200,000

 NARGIS

Legendary Indian actress.
Died on 3 MAY

From .comwww.davidicke

Married to Sunnil Dutt.

Sunill DUTT(ON) born
6-6 The OMEN

File date:
27 APRIL

Nargis and DUTTON both

in this movie. number 3 in the all time box office hits.
Music by
NAUSHAD

That looks a lot like NASSAU.
The guy was born on CHRISTMAS day
and died DUTCH liberation day. (5 May, 55).

So NARGIS linked to one of the biggest BOX OFFICE HITS
of all time….Promises a GREAT SPECTACLE……

Sunill DUTT and NARGIS.
Their son made his debut in this bollywood movie

Nargis

Nargis (Hindi: नर्गिस, Urdu: نرگس), June 1, 1929May 3, 1981, was an Indian actress best known for her role as Radha in the Oscar-nominated film Mother India. She was the wife of actor Sunil Dutt (who appeared in Mother India as her son) and her son Sanjay Dutt is currently a very successful actor in the industry.

Nargis was one of the greatest Indian actresses of all time. Her performances were authentic and natural to a degree not seen then in Indian Cinema, which could still be quite loud and theatrical.Daughter of actress, singer and filmmaker Jaddanbai, she was born Fatima Rashid in Allahabad. When just 5 years old, her mother introduced her as a child star, Baby Rani.

Her first adult lead role was in Mehboob Khan’s Taqdeer (1943) opposite Motilal. She made her presence felt in the same filmmaker’s Humayun (1945) as Hamida Bano but real stardom came her way with Andaaz (1949) and Barsaat (1949). Andaaz remains one of the best triangles in Hindi Cinema with Nargis turning in a fine performance as the modern woman caught between Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor.

Nargis often played women caught in a dilemma of the heart leading to a tragic ending – Mela (1948), Andaaz (1949), Jogan (1950), Babul (1950), Deedar (1951) and Bewafaa (1952) among others (the kind of roles Patience Cooper did in the 1920s).

Off-screen, her affair with the already married Raj Kapoor was a matching of soul and spirit. After Awaara (1951) she worked almost exclusively with him even turning down her mentor Mehboob’s Aan (1952). The Raj Kapoor and Nargis pair had chemistry hitherto unseen on the Indian screen. The passion that each had for the other poured out on the screen as they romanced each other in several films – The song Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua from Shree 420 (1955) with Nargis and Raj under the umbrella in heavy rain is subliminal romance at its best. Nargis knowing Raj Kapoor’s obsession for white took to dressing in white and was known as his lady in white. She even met the then Home Minister Moraji Deasai to try and get him to sanction a marriage between her and Raj Kapoor!

However by 1956 the pair had broken up, Chori Chori (1956), a breezy entertainer based on Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night (1934), being their last film together. She did do a special appearance in his production Jagte Raho (1956) for old times sake and perhaps it was fitting that at the end of the film she is the woman who finally quenches Raj Kapoor’s thirst.

With Raj Kapoor out of her life, almost as if on cue, Mehboob offered her his magnum opus Mother India (1957).

Mother India is the ultimate tribute to Indian Womanhood! This epic saga of the sufferings of an Indian peasant woman has an inherent and perennial appeal, being typical of the Indian situation. The film is an opulent colour remake of Mehboob’s earlier austere Black and White film Aurat (1940). In fact everything about the film is highly charged right down to the strong, earthy central performance by Nargis. The film represents the pinnacle of her career and won her the Best Actress award at the prestigious Karlovy Vary festival. Mother India was also nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film but it lost to Fellini’s Nights of Caberia by a solitary vote!

It is a well-known story that while shooting for the film, Nargis was trapped amidst lit haystacks. As the flames got higher and higher, Sunil Dutt playing her rebellious son, Birju, in the film ran through the fire and rescued her. He proposed to her and Nargis married Sunil Dutt and quit films after marriage. She did lend her voice and we do see her silhouette in Sunil Dutt’s ‘one actor movie monument’ Yaadein (1964) and she did make a comeback of sorts expertly playing a woman with a split personality in Raat Aur Din (1967) winning the National Award for the same.

Nargis was the first film personality to be awarded the Padmashree and later her charitable work for spastics saw her nominated to the Rajya Sabha. She died of cancer in 1981, the same year her son Sanjay Dutt made his screen debut with Rocky.

 

Nargis was born Fatima Rashid, the daughter of the Allahabad-based Muslim singer, Jaddanbai and a Hindu Mohyal father of Rawalpindi, named Uttamchand Mohanchand[1]. Nargis married the actor Sunil Dutt (himself a Mohyal from Jhelum, British India). Her brother Anwar Hussain was also an actor in the film industry. Nargis started her career in the 1930s as a child artist and progressed quickly to leading roles in several popular films in the 1940s and 1950s which remain popular today. In most of her films she appeared opposite the director and Bollywood star Raj Kapoor. She is said to have been his real-life love interest as well as his favorite heroine. The affair was doomed to remain an affair, however, as Kapoor made no move to divorce his wife.

Indian actress Nargis

It is a well-known story that while shooting for Mother India, Nargis was trapped amidst lit haystacks while filming a scene. As the flames got higher and higher, Sunil Dutt, who played her rebellious son Birju in the film, ran through the fire and rescued her. Later, Dutt proposed to her, and they married on March 11, 1958. The marriage produced three children: Sanjay, Namrata, and Priya. Sanjay Dutt went onto become a very successful film actor. Namrata went onto marry actor Kumar Gaurav, son of veteran actor Rajendra Kumar who had appeared alongside both Nargis and Sunil Dutt in Mother India. Priya became a politician.

Fatima was recruited to the cinema at an early age. Fatima made her first film appearance in 1935, in Talashe Haq. The six-year-old was credited as “Baby Nargis”. Nargis, her stage name, means “Narcissus”, the flower. She was always credited as Nargis in all of her films.

Nargis appeared in numerous movies after her 1935 debut; she won lasting fame for her later, adult, roles. She starred in many popular Hindi-Urdu movies of the late 1940s and 1950s such as Barsaat (1949), Andaz (1949), Awaara (1951), Deedar (1951), Shree 420 (1955), and Chori Chori (1956). In most of her films she starred alongside Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar.

Her most famous role came in Mehboob Khan‘s Oscar-nominated rural drama Mother India in 1957. She won the Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance. After her marriage to Sunil Dutt in 1958, Nargis gave up her film career after her last few film releases to settle down with her family. She made her last film appearance in the 1967 film Raat Aur Din for which she won a National Film Award for Best Actress, the first actress to win in this category. She also received a Filmfare Nomination as Best Actress for this film.

Nargis died of pancreatic cancer in 1981, only a few weeks before her son Sanjay Dutt‘s debut film Rocky was released.

Awards and recognitions

 

 

PHOTOS: Devastating Aftermath of Cyclone Part 2

PHOTOS: Devastating Aftermath of Cyclone Part 2

ABC News

Myanmar

Flooded villages are seen in this aerial view near an airport in Yangon May 5, 2008, after Cyclone Nargis slammed into Myanmar’s main city Saturday, ripping off roofs, felling trees and raising fears of major casualties.
(Strringer/Reuters )

Myanmar

An aerial photo shows damage to rooftops of residential buildings in Yangon May 5, 2008.
(Stringer/Reuters )
Myanmar
Residents navigated the destruction, including a fallen advertising board along the Yangon streets after last weekend’s devastating cyclone, Sunday, May 4, 2008.
(AP Photo)
Myanmar
Western tourists make their way through fallen debris Sunday May 4, 2008, in Yangon, Myanmar following Cyclone Nargis.
(Barry Broman/AP Photo)
Cyclone

In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, monks clear roads damaged by cyclone in Yangon Sunday.
(Zhang Yunfei/Xinhua/AP Photo)

 

PHOTOS: Devastating Aftermath of Cyclone Part 1

Devastating Aftermath of Cyclone Part 1

 ABC News

Myanmar

At left, a survivor sits at his home, which was destroyed by Cyclone Nargis, near the town of Kyaiklat, southwest of Yangon, May 7, 2008.
(Strringer/Reuters )

       Myanmar

Cyclone-affected families await relief goods under open skies after losing their homes in Labutta, a town in the Irrawaddy division of southwest Myanmar, in this undated photo.
(AFP/Getty Images)

Myanmar

A man, right, passes out water to cyclone victims as they wait for relief goods in Labutta.
(AFP/Getty Images)

Myanmar

Cyclone victims wait for relief goods to arrive in Labutta on May 7, 2008, a town in the Irrawaddy division of southwest Myanmar devastated by Cyclone Nargis.
(AFP/Getty Images)

Myanmar

Villagers bring an injured women in for treatment at a makeshift medical aid center after fleeing the cyclone-hit Dedaye township, south of Yangon on May 7, 2008. A UN spokesman said about 1,930 square miles of Myanmar’s cyclone-hit regions remain underwater, with more than a million people in need of emergency relief. Disaster medicine experts worry that without immediate assistance, the death toll will climb from the May 2-3 cyclone.
(Khin Maung Win/AFP/Getty Images)

Myanmar

Myanmar children look on as they take temporary shelter at a center in Kyauktan Township, in southern Myanmar on Thursday May 8, 2008.
(AP Photo)

Myanmar

Cyclone victims await rice rations on the outskirt of Yangon, Myanmar, Thursday May 8, 2008.
(AP Photo)

Myanmar

Cyclone-affected people try to dry grains of food in the cyclone-hit area of Dedaye township, on May 7, 2008.
(Khin Maung Win/AFP/Getty Images)

Myanmar

Myanmar children are shown with a yellow substance painted on their faces. Thanakha, made from ground wood, is worn primarily as a sunblock and for cosmetic purposes, and gives a cooling sensation to the skin. These children, whose homes were destroyed by the cyclone, look on while taking shelter in a monastery in Kaw Hmu village, Thursday, May 8, 2008.
(AP Photo)

Myanmar

A child, center, from a displaced family cries as another feeds from a bottle after their families fled areas near Dedaye township.
(Khin Maung Win/AFP/Getty Images)

Myanmar

A Burmese woman sleeps on top of tables as they wait for relief goods in Kyauktan Township, southern Myanmar on Thursday May 8, 2008.
(AP Photo)

Myanmar

With reporting by ABC News’ reporters Nick Schifrin, Kirit Radia, Dan Childs and Toni Bronzo.
(AP Photo)

Don’t Shoot The Messenger!

Don’t Shoot The Messenger!

Safety of Journalists

By  Nesma Abd Elaziz

Covering news in hostile zones has become more dangerous today than in past decades. Journalists and correspondents are increasingly being targeted; they risk being kidnapped and killed (see the chart).  

 

 

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a non-profit organization based in New York, US, stated that the majority of journalists did not die in crossfire but were “hunted down and murdered.”  

Cases of journalists killed or kidnapped have received much public attention in recent years, alerting those responsible for journalists’ safety to act immediately and provide them with needed precautions. 

Year

Journalists Killed*

July 2007

53

2006

84

2005

63

2004

62

2003

40

2002

25

*Figures from Reporters sans frontieres (RSF). For details, click here.

Below are two famous examples of journalists who have faced a distressing fate in hostile environments.                              

Alan Johnston

Today, Johnston’s case is regarded as one of the most dramatic in the history of the plight of journalism. Unfortunately, not all journalists get as much attention or support.

After 114 days in captivity, Alan Johnston was set free on July 4. Johnston said that “it is just the most fantastic thing to be free,” and he described his experience as “being buried alive” (BBC).

The BBC correspondent in the Gaza Strip for three years was kidnapped on March 12, 2007, by a militant group calling itself the “Army of Islam.” Since his abduction, the BBC exerted intense efforts to ensure his safety and to secure his release. Thousands of people from all around the world supported Johnston and signed a petition calling for his release (BBC).

Daniel Pearl

 American journalist Daniel Pearl was kidnapped on January 23, 2002, while investigating a story on radical Muslim groups for the Wall Street Journal (BBC). Few days later, Pearl was beheaded and his body was found cut into pieces.

 

 The Daniel Pearl case is regarded as an international dilemma since it sheds light upon the vulnerability of journalists and correspondents worldwide.

Increasingly, journalists’ careers have become a threat to their lives. Their reports and interviews have become twisted justifications for killing them. In light of the growing need for awareness of safety, the sheet below provides journalists with some directions and precautions:

Safety Sheet Before you go:

 

 

  • Caution: Understand that you have responsibilities for your own safety.
  • Insurance: Make sure that your employers provide you with health insurance before traveling to a conflict zone. Confirm whether the company’s policies include acts of war and other dangers you may face on assignment (CPJ).
  • Preparation: Gain training and preparation for living in a hostile environment, including basic knowledge of first aid and of munitions if traveling to a war zone (International News Safety Institute; INSI).
  • Legal Rights: Understand the basic principles of international humanitarian law: First, because you are expected to report effectively on violations of the rules of war; second, because a number of provisions of the conventions apply directly to journalists (CPJ).
  • Medical Concerns: Check with qualified medical experts to learn what specific immunizations you will need before traveling, and ask a general practitioner for the needed vaccinations (CPJ).
  • Language: Learn the local language whenever traveling to a hostile zone. You should also learn and be able to pronounce the words for “press” or “journalist” in local languages (CPJ).
  • Checklist

  • A satellite telephone or other independent access to communication (South Asian Journalist Association; SAJA).
  • First aid kits

     

  • Blood type identification, and information on other medical conditions (allergies, heart murmurs, etc.) (CPJ).
  • Press identification, as well as any other event-specific credentials, including military press passes (CPJ).
  • Protective gear (combat helmets and body armors) that will provide an effective protection (CPJ).
  • Dark clothes. Be mindful of the kind and color of clothes you wear in war zones. Bright and light colors that reflect a lot of sunlight may make a journalist too conspicuous. But wearing camouflage or military green could make journalists targets. Depending on the terrain, dark blue or dark brown may be preferable. In particular, black is preferable because it doesn’t reflect light (CPJ).
  • Never carry arms or travel with other journalists who carry weapons (CPJ).

Upon Arrival:

  • Get Your Bearings: Map out in advance the locations of available medical services along with evacuation routes (CPJ).
  • Team up with other reporters to cross-report and verify information (SAJA). When lives are in danger, support one another in such hostile environments, and put competitive issues aside (INSI).
  • Plan Alternatives: Hide your equipment, and separate money and credit cards and hide them in various pockets or among your gear (CPJ).
  • Communicate:Stay in touch, and make sure that editors at home know your schedule in detail (CPJ).

Please read these articles_

  1. Bloggers Unite for Human Rights”
  2. Bloggers celebrate Press Freedom Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NASA photos of Myanmar Cyclone Nargis 2

                       NASA’s Landsat Looks at Cyclone Nargis Floods in Burma

May 12, 2008

The city of Yangôn (also called Rangoon) in Burma, is tucked into a “V” between two rivers that empty into the Gulf of Martaban through a large estuary. When Cyclone Nargis passed over the city in the first week of May 2008, the entire coastal plain flooded, surrounding Yangôn with water.

This pair of images from NASA’s Landsat satellite shows the city and surrounding agricultural land before and after the storm. On March 18, 2008, the built up part of the city and its suburbs appear bluish purple, fallow cropland is pinkish-tan, and vegetation is dark green. The wide rivers are a muddy green.

After Nargis inundated the area with heavy rains and storm surge, standing water covered almost the entire area. As of May 5, flooding in the heart of the city appeared to be less than in the surrounding areas. Flooding probably exists, but it may be at a smaller scale than Landsat is able to detect. However, all the land to the west and southwest and most of the area to the east and southeast are still submerged.
Across the river to the southeast of the city, a swath of relatively dry land — perhaps higher in elevation, or protected by a levee — extends toward the lower right corner of the image. Across the rest of the scene, standing water varies in shades from muddy brown, to green, to purplish blue.

George Clooney and Hollywood stars donate $250,000 for Myanmar cyclone victims

George Clooney and Hollywood stars

donate $250,000 for Myanmar cyclone victims

The Associated Press
Published: May 15, 2008

               International Herald Tribune

       

NEW YORK: The humanitarian organization founded by actor George Clooney and other “Ocean’s Thirteen” stars has donated US$250,000 to help children and families in Myanmar affected by Cyclone Nargis.

Not On Our Watch said it will provide an additional matching contribution of up to US$250,000 to the relief agency Save the Children for every dollar donated to its emergency relief fund for cyclone victims.

The nonprofit organization was founded by Clooney, fellow actors Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, producer Jerry Weintraub and human rights lawyer David Pressman to focus global attention and resources on ending mass atrocities and human rights violations around the world. It has donated millions of dollars to help the 2.5 million people in Darfur uprooted by the five-year conflict .

Alex Wagner, executive director of Not on Our Watch, said the organization chose Save the Children for the donations because it is one of the few aid agencies on the ground in Myanmar and has already helped over 100,000 people around the capital, Yangon, and in the hard-hit Irrawaddy delta, including about 40,000 children under the age of 12.

“Until the military regime prioritizes the welfare of its own citizens and allows full-scale deployment of relief operations, we must continue to support the very few that stand in a position to help combat this crisis,” Wagner said in a statement Tuesday.

Myanmar’s military government on Wednesday revised its death toll from the May 3 storm to 38,491 and the number of missing to 27,838. But the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the number of people killed is probably between 68,833 and 127,990, and the number needing help is between 1.64 million and 2.51 million.

Charles MacCormack, president and CEO of Save the Children, said in a statement Tuesday that the donation “will help us meet children’s survival needs in Myanmar and assist them on their path to recovery from this devastating event.”

Save the Children, one of the largest nongovernmental organizations at work in Myanmar, has 500 staff, almost all local nationals. It has worked in Myanmar since 1995 and currently operates programs in all five districts severely affected by the cyclone.

                

 

Myanmar’s ill wind

Myanmar‘s ill wind

NST Online:EDITORIAL

THE toll of a cyclone like Nargis is measured not in the dead — though they may number in the tens of thousands — but the dying, in their hundreds of thousands. After the devastation of the storm itself comes the more insidious and much further-reaching effects of displacement, disease, malnutrition and exposure. Shelter is gone. Food and essential supplies are gone. Injuries and debilitation are rife. Ten days since the storm lashed the Irrawaddy delta, literally changing the face of Myanmar, it seems that country will never be the same again. If, however, the wrenching transformations wrought by the cyclone also include the decline and fall of the military regime that has astounded the world with its deadly determination to keep out “foreign influence”, perhaps the proverbial “winds of change” that have for so long eluded Myanmar took a very literal expression that fateful May 3.

 

The United Nations recognises the notion of “a responsibility to protect”, the invocation of which some members, most notably France, are urging. But this is a provision for events of genocide and war, not natural catastrophe. Quite simply, international conventions have never conceived of a situation where a national administration would rather let its citizens perish than allow help to reach them from other than officially sanctioned quarters. Myanmar’s Senior General Than Shwe’s continuing refusal even to receive word from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon indicates that the junta seems hell-bent on drawing a line and making a stand, digging in its heels in obdurate refusal to capitulate to the humanitarian agencies that are waiting to alleviate the suffering of the 1.5 million people directly affected by the cyclone and its aftermath.
There are stories of heroic determination and resilience to be told in this tragedy, among the cyclone’s survivors as much as those few foreign aid workers — Malaysians included among the teams from Myanmar’s Asean neighbours — who have accessed the disaster zones. But they are subsumed beneath the over-arching saga of stubborn paranoia suffusing the response of their government, apparently still more concerned with garnering popular approval for its farcical “referendum” on the interminable “seven-step charter” touted as an alternative to the democratic processes that would have otherwise ousted the junta 20 years ago. Perhaps the cyclone might have succeeded where democracy, compassion and simple common sense have failed, in restoring a sense of reality to a regime where surrealism bizarrely reigns. But the generals are steadfast in denial.

 

 

 

 

KOH LAY CHIN: When politicking takes precedence, the poor suffer

 

By : KOH LAY CHIN

Aid being delivered in Twantey, near Yangon. Myanmar's military regime has been criticised by foreign governments for allowing only a trickle of much-needed foreign aid to enter the country since the cyclone Nargis struck on May 3. - AFP picture

Aid being delivered in Twantey, near Yangon. Myanmar’s military regime has been criticised by foreign governments for allowing only a trickle of much-needed foreign aid to enter the country since the cyclone Nargis struck on May 3. — AFP picture

 

YOU could sense the tension in the air, but the kids didn’t care. They were just elated that the Hare Krishnas had arrived with their huge pots of steaming rice and vegetable dhal. They sang songs, lightening the mood. This was Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, in 2005, more than a week after the tsunami struck. Spending several hours in a refugee camp is already a heart-wrenching experience, but there was an added crunch as this particular camp was located in a Tamil Tiger stronghold.

 

There were the Sri Lankan military men keeping watch on one side, and the Tamil Tiger rebels on the other. They were both eyeballing each other like hawks. The rebels said they were fed up with what they said was government propaganda — which accused the Tigers of sabotaging aid work for the victims. The soldiers scoffed at this, retorting that it was they who were being intimidated and harassed by the rebels, therefore hampering their own relief efforts in LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), areas. Meanwhile the casualties, the poor and hungry, continued to suffer.
With the huge disasters that have hit our neck of the woods in recent memory, analysts have often talked about the subject of disaster diplomacy when it comes to conflict-ridden zones such as Sri Lanka or Aceh. The possibility of disaster diplomacy is apparent when we see how the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian government pulled together to strike a peace deal after the massive devastation caused by the tsunami. Both sides realised that with the enormity of the disaster, the suffering of the people was too much to bear, and by July 16, 2005, they announced that the 30-year insurgency had ended.

Obviously, measures of success when it comes to conflict zones can be nebulous or fleeting. Just look at the Sri Lankan example, where the government has pulled out of the ceasefire agreement just this January. Bitter hostilities on both sides just seem too entrenched.

Another example of the possibilities of disaster diplomacy would be the Kashmir quake (also in 2005). It was indeed a horrific disaster, affecting eight million people across the contentious Line of Control, but it also brought about a new political landscape where Pakistan and India could work closer together. The thawing of relations between the two countries are certainly due to other factors, not least being increased political restraint and dialogue, but the flurry of relief work that both had to co-ordinate together did play a part.

 

Indeed, 2005 was one year Mother Nature lost her cool spectacularly. This year, it is happening again. Myanmar is reeling from the wrath of Cyclone Nargis, and the casualty toll is also still being counted in China. Is there a chance for disaster diplomacy in Myanmar? Wait a minute, who are they actually fighting? Although it is not a fight physical in nature, the military government is acting like they are on the defensive. Their handling of the disaster has been severely criticised. Who in their right mind denies offerings of aid for their suffering citizens even as they are barely able to help their own?
Thumbing their noses at countries is one thing, but being suspicious of relief agencies and NGOs is perplexing, to say the least. When a country still ponders visa applications for the UN World Food Programme and Doctors Without Borders more than a week after the disaster, that is surely a sign of gross insecurity and paranoia. That the junta insisted on holding a referendum to solidify their power in the midst of all this distress is also indicative. It is warped political egotism of the highest order, and it isn’t pretty. And once again, when Myanmar is a topic, sooner or later Asean inevitably becomes a sub-topic.

Like it or not, the more Charlie misbehaves, the more Charlie’s sisters and brothers get the evil eye around the neighbourhood. But that is another story.

The politics of disasters and crises show what governments and their rivals can or won’t do when windows of opportunities open up, no matter how dire the catastrophe. When political agency fails to consider what is most important — the people — that is when a tragedy truly becomes tragic. And although we have seen how it takes a complete disaster for there to be some headway in peace talks, a disaster, more often than not, just further illustrates what already exists. The mettle of political players, neighbours and rivals, and the communications among them. Can they or can they not remember what matters most?

History tells us though, that the peace deal struck between GAM and the Indonesian government was a rarity, and not the norm. I remember feeling helpless seeing the aid for the Sri Lankan refugee camp being hoarded and argued over by the two opposing sides. When politicking takes precedence, the poor and hungry continue to suffer.

And I was just as elated as the kids when the Hare Krishnas came. It was a welcome respite.