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Myanmar

CLIMATE change could be behind the recent migration of rats in Bago Division, a weather expert said at a recent seminar in Yangon.

Beginning in late June, thousands of black rats (Rattus rattus) began migrating from jungles in Bago Division to areas near human settlements, consuming paddy and other crops. Residents in affected regions said it was the first time they had seen the black rat in such prodigious numbers.

Dr Tun Lwin, a former director general of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, said he believed the rat migration was the result of a lack of rain in the early monsoon period and reflected a long-term trend of changing monsoon patterns.

Read more: Late monsoon could have triggered rat swarm: expert

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A comprehensive new study of the effects of climate change has found "undeniable" evidence that the earth is warming, and its effects on our oceans appears far worse than first acknowledged.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report, which used 303 scientists from 48 countries to examine 10 different indicators, points to "unmistakable" evidence that we are in the grips of catastrophic climate change.But the extent of damage done to ocean life has now been made clear: another study published in US journal Nature found that 40 percent of the world's plankton has died off since the 1950s as a result of being unable to adjust to warming seas, a result of man-made greenhouse gases. Phytoplanktons are tiny plants that suck up much of the world's carbon dioxide and emit an estimated 50 percent of our oxygen.

Read more: Grim warning sounded on climate change

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CYCLONES, droughts, earthquakes, fires that destroy forests and homes, floods, landslides, storm surges and tsunamis: All pose a threat to lives and property in Myanmar, international disaster assistance professionals say.

Myanmar’s vulnerability to natural disaster was brought into sharp relief by Cyclone Nargis in 2008, which killed at least 138,000 people and caused more than US$4 billion worth of damage. But since then, experts say, progress has been made in preparing for disasters that should help increase the level of protection provided.

Much of the threat is caused or compounded by climate change, to which Myanmar has contributed very little. But according to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index, released by the global risks advisory firm Maplecroft, Myanmar ranks 10th globally in terms of the countries most vulnerable to extreme weather-related events thought to be caused by climate change.

Read more: Experts see green shoots in disaster preparation efforts

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