The Camillians from Thailand and their collaborators in Myanmar, with the help of CTF-SOS DRS and Salute e Sviluppo, responded to Cyclone Nargis that devastated the country of Myanmar (Burma) in May 2008.
This is not the first time that the Camillians in Thailand and the CTF have collaborated in responding to a natural disaster. They did so after the devastating Asian Tsunami in 2004 that caused much destruction in Thailand.
Cyclone Nargis – Background
Cyclone Nargis was a strong tropical cyclone that caused the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Myanmar. The cyclone made landfall in the country on May 2, 2008, caused catastrophic destruction, at least 146,000 fatalities, and thousands more people went missing. The Burmese government’s official death toll was grossly underreported as they simply stopped counting the dead to minimize political fallout. And due to a lack of relief efforts because of governmental obstruction many more likely died. Damage was estimated at over $10 billion, which made it the most damaging cyclone ever recorded in the North Indian Ocean Basin. Watch this video that shows evidence of the difficulties the people of Myanmar faced in the wake of Cyclone Nargis.
Relief efforts were slowed for political reasons as Burma’s military rulers initially resisted aid. They finally accepted aid a few days after India’s request was accepted. Further hampering the relief effort was the unfortunate fact that only ten days after the cyclone nearby central China was hit by a massive earthquake, known as the Sichuan earthquake which measured 7.9 in magnitude and it alone took at least 69,136 lives and caused 86 billion dollars in damage (USD), making it the costliest disaster in Chinese history and third costliest disaster worldwide.