Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar: Lessons for public health preparedness for cyclones


  • Debarati Guha-Sapir, PhD
  • Florian Vogt, BA



natural disaster, mortality, preparedness, epidemiology, cyclone


Recent natural disasters such as the 2004 tsunami, 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and the 2008 Myanmar cyclone have killed more than 100,000 people each. Mortality and morbidity associated with natural disasters are a growing concern, especially because extreme climate events are likely to get increasingly frequent.
The authors comment on Cyclone Nargis, claiming an extraordinarily high death toll during its devastating track through the Irrawaddy delta in Myanmar on May 2, 2008 and analyze how and why its mortality pattern differs from other typical postdisaster situations. Underlying factors and preconditions are described and the specificity of the Myanmese context is presented.
This leads to lessons how excess mortality can be reduced in future high-ranked cyclones, whose recurrence in this region will only be a matter of time.

Author Biographies

Debarati Guha-Sapir, PhD

Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, School of Public Health, Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.

Florian Vogt, BA

Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, School of Public Health, Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.


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How to Cite

Guha-Sapir, PhD, D., and F. Vogt, BA. “Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar: Lessons for Public Health Preparedness for Cyclones”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 4, no. 5, Sept. 2009, pp. 273-8, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2009.0039.