The Intersection

Did Nargis Kill 100,000?

That’s what CNN is suggesting. This puts the catastrophe at tsunami scale. And it suggests that Nargis could rank among the top three or four most deadly cyclones of modern times.

My god.

Courtesy of Weather Underground, the deadliest cyclones list:

1. Great Bhola Cyclone, Bangladesh, 1970, 550,000

2. Hooghly River Cyclone, India and Bangladesh, 1737, 350,000

3. Haiphong Typhoon, Vietnam, 1881, 300,000

4. Coringa, India, 1839, 300,000

5. Backerganj Cyclone, Bangladesh, 1584, 200,000

6. Great Backerganj Cyclone, Bangladesh, 1876, 200,000

7. Chittagong, Bangladesh, 1897, 175,000

8. Super Typhoon Nina, China, 1975, 171,000

9. Cyclone 02B, Bangladesh, 1991, 140,000

10. Great Bombay Cyclone, India, 1882, 100,000


  1. #1 Mark P
    May 7, 2008

    I wonder how accurate the casualty estimates are for the early events.

  2. #2 Eric Berger
    May 7, 2008

    It’s also important to remember that the dramatic surge in population during the last half century will inevitably lead to tragedies of a larger magnitude.

    Good work in chronicling Nargis, Chris.


  3. #3 Mac Wilson
    May 7, 2008

    I am frustrated that this has seemingly only become an issue in America after this week’s primaries have passed. For all this weekend, CNN featured banner displays on Hillary’s chances in North Carolina, et al. Only today is it getting enormous headlines on CNN. Of course, if the issue of Obama’s lapel pin arose again, I’m sure it would push Nargis to the sidebar. Just sad.

  4. #4 Molly
    May 7, 2008

    Even more sad is that while it is hard to get people interested in the cyclone tragedy, hundreds of thousands or millions of Burmese have died of starvation or malnutrition, as political prisoners, in direct combat, or as refugees since the junta took power. People just forgot about Burma, even though the junta were so crazy they moved the entire capital north for astrological reasons.

  5. #5 razib
    May 7, 2008

    hot dog; b-desh most-def punches above its demographic weight!

  6. #6 Emily
    May 7, 2008

    I wonder how accurate the numbers might be, given that they are coming from an isolationist and often untruthful regime – there are numerous potential reasons for both exaggerating and low balling the casualty and damage numbers. We may never be able to really understand the impact of this storm.

  7. #7 Lassi Hippeläinen
    May 8, 2008

    The number 100’000 didn’t come from the regime, it was the guesstimate by the US charge d’affaires.

    Still, in the end it will be too low. The problems have just started. People will die also due to secondary effects like malnutrition, dirty water, and epidemics.

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