Myanmar: Life After Nargis

Authors: Pavin Chachavalpongpun and Moe Thuzar

On May 2-3, 2008, Cyclone Nargis slammed into Myanmar’s Ayeyawaddy delta, leaving some 130,000 dead, and more than two million homeless and without recourse to relief and recovery needs. The ensuing confusion in the media and international circles over Myanmar’s initial delay in responding to the humanitarian crisis caused by Nargis, led ASEAN to take on the role of facilitator, mediator and convenor in coordinating international and regional efforts to assist Myanmar in a joint response. The unique circumstances provided a window for international, regional, and local groups to work together in unprecedented ways. The tripartite cooperation among the Government of Myanmar, the United Nations, and ASEAN in responding to Nargis now serves as a case study in the context of humanitarian assistance and disaster management. 

Through June-December 2008, Centre researchers Pavin and Moe documented ASEAN’s role in helping Myanmar respond to Nargis. A preliminary report was provided to the 14th ASEAN Summit in February 2009. The final report, “Myanmar: Life After Nargis” was launched by the ASEAN Secretary-General at the 42nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on 20 July 2009.