Jeff Masters, a meteorologist with the web site Weather Underground, has uncovered an amazing story related to the cyclone that killed thousands in Burma: The government buried a warning of the impending storm on page 15 of a state-run newspaper.

Many of you have expressed amazement that so many could die from a tropical cyclone in this day and age of satellites and modern communications. Why did it happen? I believe there are two main reasons: the historical lack of tropical cyclones that have hit Burma's Irrawaddy delta, and the unwillingness of Myanmar's leaders to provide adequate warnings for fear of jeopardizing their May 10 referendum to consolidate their power.

Masters has a scanned copy of the newspaper page, which rates the storm warning's news value below "Greece, Russia Stress Closer Cooperation" but ahead of the TV listings (4:45 p.m.: Dance of National Races).

Irrawaddy.Org, a news site that covers Burma from Thailand, provided more details on the downplayed warning:

Appearances on Burma's state television by the country's director general of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, Tun Lwin, always attract a large following.

Viewers like his style and informative approach to weather reporting. But now those same viewers are asking: "Why did he fail to warn us of the approach of Cyclone Nargis?"

According to well-informed sources close to his department, Burma's leading meteorologist passed those warnings on to the government in Naypyidaw, together with information about the cyclone's strength, expected course, and timing.

Tun Lwin reportedly suggested the warning should be carried by state media, but sources said he was told by his bosses in the capital: "Don't create public panic ahead of the referendum."

-- Rogers Cadenhead

Comments

This doesn't suprise me, Burma is a 'mini' North Korea.

A country ruled by a military complex with only one goal, maintaining power by any and all means.


 

I'm impressed with the contrast between the capitalist warnings before the approach of Katrina, and the failure of the socialist (albeit military junta) government's lack of warning to the people of Burma.

Like the socialist governments of the state of Louisianna and New Orleans, the government of Burma ignored the storm predictions and sought to pimp to the hope for a quiescent society; in the face of the inevitable disaster. Federal warnings and attempts to profer preemptive support to the state and New Orleans were spurned, as was any effort to protect the common Burmese civilian living in the area most endangered by the cyclonic storm.

Now, the socialist dictatorship of Burma is taking advantage of the sympathy and empathy of the world's other nations offering aid ... and taking it for the elite of the government, first. A PERFECT comparison to the state of Louisianna and the city of New Orleans in absorbing ALL the aid and attention of a generous nation and federal governmewnt -- by ripping off votes by lying about "Republican" government and selfishly taking advantage of the disaster for political gain.

Socialistic dictatorship in Burma and the Democratic party of the USA ... two peas in a collective pod .... ripoff artists united in thievery ...


 

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