Burma claims confidence in disaster warning system

May 12, 2009 (DVB), Burma's government, widely condemned for its slow response to cyclone Nargis last year, has voiced confidence in its new disaster warning technology after receiving support from international organisations.

The ruling State Peace and Development Council, notoriously wary of accepting foreign assistance, have sought help from bodies including the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) to improve weather forecasting.

Last May, cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy delta in southern Burma, leaving an estimated 140,000 dead and 2.4 million affected.

The military junta were initially reluctant to accept international aid, and blocked journalists from reporting form the region.

The government now claims to have installed a disaster warning centre in the remote capital Naypyidaw, and is working with WMO and other organisations on communication and training.

"We do all the best we can to improve ourselves and now there is a lot of difference compared to before the cyclone," said Tun Lwin, director general of the government's Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.

"Now we are confident with our disaster warning system. Also no matter how fast a storm is, we would always get about two to three days for the warning.

"The rest is up to the cooperation from the public."

Reporting by Nay Htoo

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