Extreme Weather Kills 13, Destroys Hundreds of Pagodas

By The Irrawaddy 25 April 2016

RANGOON — Gale-force winds and hailstorms have killed more than 10 people and destroyed homes, religious buildings and livestock in northern Burma since Friday.

The affected areas were in Mandalay, Sagaing and Magwe divisions, as well as Shan and Arakan states, claiming the lives of 13 people and injuring dozens. Storms damaged more than 15,000 homes and killed hundreds of cattle, local media reported on Monday.

According to a report on Saturday from the office of Burma’s military commander-in-chief, a 30-minute-long gale-force wind toppled more than 800 pagodas in the Kakku Pagoda compound about 30 miles outside of Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State. The pagoda complex boasts a cluster of more than 2,400 religious structures, believed to be many centuries old.

Kakku has been closed to visitors as the damage is assessed.

According to reports in the Global New Light of Myanmar on Monday, heavy rains, thunderstorms and strong winds are expected to continue throughout the week in northern Burma. The weather patterns, the state-run media outlet explained, are caused by the cumulus clouds created by “atmospheric instability” of cool winds originating in India and Bangladesh meeting high temperatures in Burma.