I’ve been raising the concern, here and in posts on WorldChanging.com, that statistics on deaths in Burma from the tsunami may be underreported by the military government of Myanmar. Central to that argument were reports from UN agencies working in Burma that speculated that death tolls could be significantly higher than the Myanmar government was reporting.
Thomas Crampton, writing in the New York Times, reports that the UN has now revised its estimates downwards, putting them in line with Myanmar government estimates. Crampton also cites a Pacific Tsunami Warning Center expert, who says the tsunami’s impacts were more severe on west-facing coastlines, than on east-facing coastlines.
I still find it difficult to believe that the Coco Islands and some parts of Southwestern Burma had as little damage as reported, but it’s hard for me to ignore these definitive statements. The fact that the study is from the UN, and reported in the NYT has less weight for me than the fact that the article is written by Tom Crampton, who is a good friend, and who I know to be extremely knowledgeable and concerned about Burma – I don’t think Tom would have written this piece if he believed Burma had not been spared the brunt of the tsunami.