Cyclone Nargis in Burma has left a trail of destruction and a massive death toll.
Some 95% of the homes in the city of Bogalay in the Irrawaddy delta were destroyed and most of its 190,000 residents are now homeless. The Junta govt has declared the city of Rangoon and five central and southern states, Yangon, Ayeyawaddy, Bago, Mon and Karen disaster areas.
The toll: 10000 22000+people 80000? dead and 40000+ missing , is indeed massive and Shocking. Almost all of the deaths occurred in the Irrawaddy river delta region, where more were killed by the tidal wave than the cyclone itself, Minister for Relief and Resettlement Maung Maung Swe told reporters in Rangoon. “The wave was up to 12ft (3.5m) high and it swept away and inundated half the houses in low-lying villages,” he said. “They did not have anywhere to flee.”
Guess what was the primary reason for so much destruction ? Govt Apathy and Neglect ?
Yes and NO! it is mainly due to the DESTRUCTION OF MANGROVES ….source BBC
Mangroves at Revas
Many people think that mangroves are a few dwarf weedy plants along the shoreline but mangroves are much more than that. It is a whole ecosystem acting as a buffer between land and sea. Mangroves are extensions of tropical and sub-tropical forests into the sea.Growing in the intertidal areas and estuary mouths between land and sea, mangroves provide critical habitat for a diverse marine and terrestrial flora and fauna. Healthy mangrove forests are key to healthy marine ecology.
Try the Godrej’s Mangrove site for some quality info on mangroves.
The very recent Asian Tsunami has shown us the importance of mangroves to the local ecology. In Sri lanka, two people died in the settlement with dense mangrove and scrub forest, up to 6,000 people lost their lives in a nearby village without similar vegetation.
Coastal developments had resulted in mangroves, which act as a natural defence against storms, being lost at an alarming pace. The Main Culprits are Encroachment, Real Estate, Garbage dumping, Aquaculture and Prawn Fisheries.
Bangladesh has to a limited extent realized the perils of destroying the mangroves, but will others ?
Click on the photo for an enlarged shot of the Sunder bans (Image courtsy NASA)
But have the Municipal Council and the State Govt (Pretty much all parties) learnt lessons from this ? or has political compulsion scored once more ? Read this damning article, Why Mumbai choked by Mr C Prabhu on the politics of it all. His theory is stark and very real. Mumbai is being strangulated.
The Central Govt or the Supreme Court (which was quite protective of the Delhi Ridge) aren’t helping either.
There is a blog that monitors Mangrove destruction called Mumbai mangroves and things are not looking good, just recently when i went to BKC i saw a motor able kacha road made in between mangroves in place of a a small kacha foot trail – right opposite NSE building. Soon i expect the mangroves to vanish there and slums take their place once sufficient debris has been dumped by the trucks.
Little has changed and the Mah DFgovt (whose minister was once jailed for contravening Supreme a court order on saw mill ban in forest areas) is just about to bail out all those people living in private forest areas corrupt officials in govt dept that in collusion with the politicians and builders built complexes in Pvt Forests under No development area.
The Rains are coming and with the kind of temperature swings and severe summer we are facing, god knows what we have in store… This city is slowly dying .. God save this city !