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Effects of Climate Change

The devastating effect of Nargis was again made clear by a study presented at the Copenhagen Climate Conference. The study highlights the countries faced with the biggest risks resulting from climate change. It ranked Myanmar at the top of the list together with Bangladesh and Honduras. The ranking takes into account human and economic loss caused by extreme weather conditions that are directly linked to climate change. It hereby refers to the confirmed 85'000 deaths but not to all those who are unaccounted for. It puts the economic cost at 4 billion USD.

Considering Myanmar’s GDP (figures are conflicting – the IMF estimate is at 27 billion and the CIA world fact book puts it at 14 billion for 2008) the economic cost of 4 billion USD is staggering. When one also takes into account that Myanmar receives a lot less development aid than comparable countries (Myanmar receives approx 3 USD per capita while Cambodia receives 30 USD and Laos 50 USD), it becomes clear that something needs to be done.

Having said that, it needs to be recognized that a lot is already being done especially by the people of Myanmar themselves. One thing that has really stuck out since that night when the cyclone struck is the solidarity of the Myanmar people and their will to help their fellow countrymen in need. This is not about poor third world people who supposedly cannot cope without the help and the expertise of the West - it’s about giving a little assistance in an extremely challenging situation so that the people of Myanmar can continue to help themselves. In order to try to fathome the situation one should try to remember the difficulties the highly developed and comparingly rich United States were faced with whilst trying to cope with hurricane Katrina that caused immense damage to the city of New Orleans.

Read about how it all started.