A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Friday, December 31, 2004

What is really happening in Myanmar (Burma) following the tsunami....?

There is a deeply worrying gap in the dreadful casualty statistics from the Indian Ocean tsunami - Myanmar (Burma). The official casualty figure of 90 is just not credible. Myanmar shares a long peninsula with Thailand, and the Burmese coast would have been directly exposed to the spreading wave.

A number of other sources are also starting to question the situation in Myanmar:

'Support group concerned about tsunami situation in Burma' (Ireland Online, December 30): "However, Burma Action Ireland spokesman Hugh Baxter said this may not be true. 'The Burmese government has a track record of under-reporting casualties in natural disasters, so it's difficult to know, he said."

'Is Burma hiding something?' (Rajanr Blog, December 31).

Burma is precisely the kind of state where obtaining accurate casualty figures is going to be immensely difficult and where persuading the authorities to establish a proper international and local warning system extremely fraught.

The UN and the non-governmental agencies should be doing their very best to establish the facts about villages along the Burmese peninsula and coast. Satellite imaging may help.

Philip, concerned about the role of non-democratic states in dealing with extreme disasters.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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