Cyclone Maarutha Struck Myanmar: Technology Made People Prepared

Cyclone Maarutha came and went with no big drama, and Myanmar was prepared.

Picture source: Eleven Media Group

As forecasted by Myanmar Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, Cyclone Maarutha swept the coast of West Myanmar, Thandwe township at 8.30 pm on 16th April. Maarutha, however, was short-lived and weakened steadily because of the rugged terrain of the region according to NASA. A few houses would need to redo their roofs and one lamp post has to be replaced, but there has been no report of a large-scale destruction in the area where the cyclone made the entry.

There was heavy wind and some rain over the lower part of the country, and the cyclone passed through the capital, Nay Pyi Taw as well as other areas such as Sagaing, Mandalay, Magway, Bago, Ayeyarwaddy, Yangon, Shan and Kayah.

Although the heavy wind lasted for only five minutes, it killed one person in Hinthada, Ayeyarwaddy region, and wrecked many houses and bridges on its path.

Picture source: Eleven Media Group

Reports of flash floods have also been reported in Magway state. However, these affected villages were said to be evacuated in the evening of April 16, before the cyclone hit.

The Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Dr. Win Myint Aye, the Vice President, ministers and disaster response team had an emergency meeting on the morning of 16th April to prepare rescue teams as well as stock up on food and water in disaster zones. However, there were a lot of ifs and buts in the mindsets of the people as the weather forecasts tend to be inaccurate.

Furthermore, this will not be the last of natural disasters in the country. In 2015, Myanmar was put in the top 3 in the list of nations with extreme weather risks. Over the last few years, Myanmar people have experienced a temperature rise, shorter monsoon periods and untimely rain, causing “record-breaking drought and record-breaking rain”, according to The Department Meteorology and Hydrology.

Is Myanmar’s fate in others or in its own hands?

Myanmar is a neighbouring country to both China and India, the two giants in creating pollution. Not only that, the country itself is to be blamed for its jade mining and irresponsible logging, which are believed to be causes of yearly floods.

IoT and Weather

Of course, we should find ways to reduce carbon emission and deforestation. In the meantime, before we can convince other countries that climate change is real or implement harsh and immediate policies on both legal and illegal logging, we also need to find ways to be prepared for these disasters.

With Internet of Things (IoT), we would be able to predict the weather condition more precisely with flexibility. IoT integrated systems make use of data collected from various sources, which can be analysed in real-time, making forecasts more reliable.

In rural Myanmar, with the help of real-time weather reports, people would heed to evacuation instructions more carefully and plan proper actions for their crops and livestock, so that the after-effects of a disaster are not that intensive or extensive.

Some other benefits of IoT during Weather Crisis

  • IoT enables swift and early evacuation

When weather system is combined with traffic data, especially in urban regions, it will alert people of the congested areas and help avoid delays, enabling smooth and fast evacuation.

  • IoT predicts low stocks and helps refill emergency supplies

After every disaster, follow panic buying and stocking up emergency supplies. IoT enabled weather system coupled with IoT inventory system would help retail stores be aware of the exact inventory that is in need of attention, and not to miss out on the selling opportunity. You can also read our article on how weather can impact business.

  • IoT helps anticipate the damage on infrastructure

The storms usually have a strong impact on telecommunications assets and utilities. If connected to real-time weather data, these companies would be able to anticipate needed repairs and failures and strategize appropriate action plans. Consequently, cities would not be without water or electricity while waiting out the storm, and people can still be in contact with loved ones or make emergency calls.

It will take time to integrate IoT in Myanmar, but with the way people are consuming technology hungrily, IoT could be a more feasible and immediate solution for the moment to country extreme weather risks than trying to regrow an entire forest.

18th Edition of Asia IoT Business Platform will be held in Yangon, Myanmar on 23-24 November. We will focus on: Technology transformation landscape in Myanmar, ICT/IoT deployments in Public Service sectors, IT adoption in Banking, and Next-Generation technologies. 

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Su Htwe

Apr 19, 2017

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