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“Burma: ‘I stopped counting bodies on journey down river of death’

Corpses litter the landscape as the cyclone survivors are forced to fight for life alongside a tide of mortality.

River of Death


There have been a few reminders floating around the web-mind that natural disasters followed by inept response of the authoritarians in charge have led to regime change. The devastating 1972 earthquake in Nicaragua under Somoza comes to mind. Not to mention Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Our favorite climate guy at wunderground reminds of of another.

The deadliest tropical cyclone of all time, the Great Bhola Cyclone of 1970, killed upwards of 550,000 people is what was then called East Pakistan (and now called Bangladesh). A statement released by eleven political leaders in East Pakistan ten days after the cyclone hit charged the government with “gross neglect, callous indifference and utter indifference”. They also accused the president of playing down the news coverage. The dissatisfaction with the government response to the disaster boiled over into full-fledged civil war the next year, which ultimately led to the overthrow of the government and the establishment of the new nation of Bangladesh. As bad as the West Pakistani response to the Great Bhola Cyclone of 1970 was, the response of the Myanmar government to Nargis is far worse. The slowness of response to this tropical cyclone disaster is unprecedented in modern times.