At least 10,000 reported dead after Burma cyclone

Monday, May 5, 2008

At least 10,000 people are dead and another 3,000 are missing after Cyclone Nargis hit the country of Myanmar, according to Foreign Minister Nyan Win, who spoke on state television. Just hours later Xinhua News Agency reported that government officials had told them that 15,000 were dead.

The United Nations (UN) calls the report "alarming". Paul Risley, a spokesperson for the World Food Programme said, "The UN will begin preparing assistance now to be delivered and transported to Myanmar as quickly as possible."

Satellite image of the cyclone Nargis.

"The UN will do whatever it can to provide urgent humanitarian assistance. Because of the lack of communications, we are not quite sure what will be the total extent of damages and casualties. I am very much alarmed by incoming views that casualties have risen to more than 10,000, according to Myanmar's foreign ministry," said the Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon.

The death toll has risen from Sunday's count of only 351 deaths.

Food and water has become scarce and hundreds of thousands of people are homeless with several towns being completely destroyed. In the city of Yangon, there is no power and much of the drinking water has been contaminated.

"What is clear is that we are dealing with a major emergency situation, and the priority needs now are shelter and clean drinking water," said United Nations disaster response spokesman, Richard Horsey.

There are 47.8 million people living in Myanmar with over 5 million in Yangon.


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