On 2nd and 3rd May 2008, Cyclone Nargis swept across Myanmar coastline and moved inland across the Ayeyarwady Delta and Southern Yangon Division, causing widespread destruction and the tragic loss of nearly 140,000 people. Around 2.4 million people were severely affected by the cyclone. Out of the 7.35 million people living in the stricken areas, it is estimated that in the initial days around 700,000 people were displaced.
There was widespread devastation with near-total destruction of fields and houses in areas directly hit by the cyclone. The disaster caused severe damage to critical infrastructures such as roads, water and sanitation systems, fuel supplies and electricity; particularly in the Delta region also known as the country's rice bowl, where the effects of extreme winds were compounded by a sizable storm surge, devastating most of the fertile areas.