- By Lucy MooreLucy Moore is a researcher at Foreign Policy.
The 130-mph winds and 12-foot-high waves of Cyclone Nargis have already left at least 22,500 dead and another 40,000 missing along Burma’s Andaman coast and Irrawaddy river basin, but the worst may not be over. Caryl Stern, head of the U.S. fund for UNICEF, said of the days to come, “Our biggest fear is that the aftermath could be more lethal than the storm itself.”
Burma’s paranoid, isolationistic junta has actually asked for international assistance in the face of this mounting disaster, but according to The Irrawaddy, a Burmese newsmagazine run out of Thailand, government cooperation with international relief groups is still questionable in practice.
As seen in this week’s Tuesday Map(s), though, the biggest issue on the ground may simply be standing water — miles and miles of standing water.
On April 15, the image shows clean-cut river tracks and a visible shoreline:
The May 5 image, however, is clearly a different story:
And this map, created by UNOSAT (the Operational Satellite Applications Program of the U.N. Institute for Training and Research), shows the flooding’s impact on Burma’s citizens along the Andaman coast:
As you can see, standing flood water (red-pink areas) has unfortunately closely followed the denser populations (red/orange dots) of this agricultural region. And that’s why the cyclone’s toll has been so astoundingly high.
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.| Passport |
Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer is assistant managing editor for online at Foreign Policy. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Forbes, among other places. She holds a bachelor's degree from U.C. Berkeley, and master's degrees from Peking University and the London School of Economics. The P.Q. stands for Ping-Quon.| Passport |
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.| Turtle Bay |