On 2 May 2008 tropical cyclone Nargis hit the coast of Myanmar and devastated large parts of the low-lying delta region of the Irrawaddy River. Winds exceeded 190 kilometres per hour as the storm ripped through the Myanmar’s biggest city Yangon (estimated population 6 million) for over than ten hours. Homes were flattened, more sturdy structures damaged, trees uprooted and power lines downed. In rural parts of the country up to 95 per cent of all homes were destroyed.
This is a situation that the country has not dealt with before and the scale of the needs is clearly massive. Casualty figures continue to rise. The data that is currently available to the International Federation suggests that up to 1 million people might have lost their homes.