Monday, July 14, 2008

Burma's lost mangroves and the cyclone death toll

The Washington Post published an interesting update on the Burma cyclone recovery effort. This statistic caught my attention:
According to a study published last month by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, decades of illegal encroachment and government-sanctioned neglect had seriously degraded the mangrove forests in the Irrawaddy Delta. "If there had been decent mangrove on the shorelines, the death toll would have been cut in half," said Lucas Riegger, a U.N. vulnerability analyst and mapping specialist.
Also consider the extent to which the death toll would have been cut had the junta not blocked international aid for weeks. It looks as if Burma's Cyclone Nagris was mostly a man-made tragedy.

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