August 19, 2016

Expert criticizes disaster preparedness, warns of further danger

Yangon, 5 Aug — A prominent weather expert has criticized Myanmar’s lack of preparedness for extreme weather, warning that flooding across the country could worsen amid forecasts of above-average rainfall until the end of next month.
“The risk of flooding is serious, as the country will see above-average rainfall,” Dr Tun Lwin, former director-general of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, said Tuesday.
Speaking at the hall of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation in Yangon, Dr Tun Lwin said a cluster of storms including three or four over the Bay of Bengal is likely to bring more heavy rain to Myanmar.
He said a third wave of flooding was likely to occur in September and October, following the first in June and the second in July and August.
He also warned of potential inundation until 10 October, saying there would be a severe impact on the country if gale-force winds from the South China Sea were to meet the strong monsoon, as happened in 1974 and 2004.
The weather expert stressed the need for implementation of effective climate action, pointing out that preparedness and preventive measures have been weak in Myanmar, leaving the country susceptible to recent widespread flash floods.
Although Myanmar’s ranking in “disaster vulnerability” is 131 among 184 countries globally, a US-based report ranked the country at 179 in “readiness for disaster” while fellow ASEAN member Laos was at 128, he pointed out.—GNLM


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