We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

Better forecasting and mitigation strategies are needed to minimise damage from tropical cyclones, writes Peter J. Webster in Nature Geoscience.

Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar in May 2008, left 1.5 million people severely affected. The Indian Meteorological Department claims it was clear "days ahead" that a severe tropical cyclone was headed for the Irrawaddy delta.

But this information produced little response from Myanmar and was downplayed in the press — resulting in far more casualties than necessary.

Webster points out the limited means of communication and few established evacuation routes in developing countries. He suggests more effective forecasts can be achieved by extending the time horizon of forecasts, adding storm surge forecasts to the mandate of Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres and developing resilient disaster plans.

Webster highlights Bangladesh as an example of best practice. In November 2007, when Cyclone Sidr struck, a national emergency network was established and storm shelters built.

The country received extended forecasts from the US-based Louisiana State University and, as a result, evacuated more than two million people.

Developed world investment into improved forecasts and warning systems could increase public safety and economic stability, says Webster.

Link to full article in Nature Geoscience