Extreme weather

October 21, 2020
Image by Martine Auvray from Pixabay 

The Mekong River runs along Myanmar's Shan state, forming part of the border with China and then Lao PDR. Here, the Mwe Taw Kakku pagodas, a complex of 2,478 stupas, populate a field. Some of the original pagodas date back to the 3rd century BC; others to the 12th, 17th and 18th centuries.[1]

In 2016, gale force winds toppled more than 800 of these ancient pagodas. Heavy rains and thunderstorms followed. The extreme weather was said to have been caused by atmospheric instability caused by cool winds from India and Bangladesh meeting high temperatures in Myanmar.[1]

This site of the Pa-O ethnic minority reminds us that some infrastructure in the Mekong River Basin has deep cultural roots—and, like modern infrastructure, faces current threats.


[1] ‘A Visit to Kakku, Myanmar’, The Whole World Is A Playground, 11 May 2019, https://www.thewholeworldisaplayground.com/how-to-visit-kakku-myanmar/

[1] The Irrawaddy, ‘Extreme Weaher Kills 13, Destroys Hundreds of Pagodas’, 25 April 2016, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/extreme-weather-kills-13-destroys-hundreds-of-pagodas.html

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