Map of the Day: Myanmar (Burma) Cropland Recovery and Severity Analysis of Tropical Storm Nargis—2008

…from the ESRI Map Book, Volume 24

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“Tropical cyclone Nargis struck the heart of Burma’s rice growing region in the low-lying Ayeyarwady Delta on May 2, 2008, causing extensive damage to agricultural lands, infrastructure, livestock, and stored food grains. A nearly 2,000-square-mile area of prime farmland was inundated with salt water and/or heavy rainfall. The affected region normally accounts for roughly 60 percent of the nation’s rice production.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had conducted a post-flood assessment that indicated that as of May 30, 2008, flood waters receded over a sizable area (300,000 hectares total recovery; 490,000 hectares improved since May 5, 2008). However, a month after the cyclone, approximately 1.40 million hectares, or 80 percent of the original inundated area, were still affected by some degree of flooding. Approximately 870,000 hectares had shown no improvement. The areas that showed the greatest change in the severity of flooding were the coastal areas of southern Ayeyarwady division. Natural drainage in these coastal rice farming areas must have aided the recovery, as further inland crop areas did not show the same degree of improvement. In contrast, much of the southern regions of Yangon division, which were heavily inundated, did not show much improvement a month after the cyclone’s passing.

“The Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA works to improve foreign market access for U.S. products, build new markets, improve the competitive position of U.S. agriculture in the global marketplace, and provide food aid and technical assistance to foreign countries.

“Courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service.”