Monday, May 5, 2008

Blogging the Burma cyclone

----> Mong Palatino at Global Voices has a round up of early blog commentary relating to the cyclone. Palatino provides historical perspective noting, "It was the world’s deadliest storm in ten years. In 1999 a cyclone in South Asia killed more than 10,000 people."

----> Jeg of Art of Patience Free Burma is intensively blogging the devastation wrought by the cyclone, recovery efforts, and the response of the Burmese community overseas.

Jeg blogs that a fire has broken out at the notorious Insein prision, leaving 36 dead and 70 injured.

----> Rick at Ten Percent blogs: "The people need immediate help and from a junta that views many of them as enemies, the state authorities might use this as a means to further ravage opposition. But there may also be opportunities for the democracy movement . . . ." And he asks: "Also will reconstruction take advantage of this shock and impose further corrupt commercial ventures for the Generals and outside corporations gain. . .?"

----> Bangkok Pundit quotes from a Bangkok Post story highlighting immediate food price hikes in the wake of the cyclone:
The fertile, low-lying Irrawaddy Division is also the chief rice growing area. Damage to the Irrawaddy's irrigation systems and crops was still unreported by state television, which is tightly monitored in this military-run country.

"The rice was high. This will certainly effect the rice crop negatively," said a western diplomat.

Observers in Rangoon said it could take weeks for the government to restore electricity in Rangoon, given the number of poles that had been toppled.

Prices on petrol, bottled water, and food had already jumped drastically in Rangoon by Monday.

A bottle of water was selling for 1,000 kyat, compared with 350 kyats last week, while the minimum bus fare had jumped from 50 kyats to 500 kyats in the city, a Rangoon resident said.

Last week's blackmarket rate for the kyat was 1,120 to the dollar.
For more about the threat to Burma agriculture and why this could impact the price of rice, see my previous post.

Picture: Jeg

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