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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Cyclone Nargis rips through Myanmar

UPDATE #3 (7 May 2008): Burma cyclone: Secretive junta 'is holding up aid efforts and hiding death toll set to top 60,000' From the Daily Mail. This article has a bunch of pictures showing the devastation. I am learning that India provided as much as 2 days notice that this was going to be a bad storm and what the pathway was and the military government of Myanmar (Burma) did not notify the people. There is also conflicting reports as to whether the UN relief workers have been allowed n. To my knowledge the Myanmar government still has not allowed US access to assess the situation or assist even though we have asked repeatedly.

UPDATE #2 (6 May 2008): Aid workers fear Burma cyclone deaths will top 50,000

Silent video of the devastation

The official death toll as of Tuesday morning is 15,000 dead and over 30,000 missing. These number continue to climb as more information is received from the devastated area. This disaster is on the same order of magnitude as was the tsunami of 2004.

Foreign aid workers in Burma have concluded that as many as 50,000 people died in Saturday’s cyclone, and two to three million are homeless, in a disaster whose scale invites comparison with the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The official death count after Cyclone Nargis is 15,000, and the Thai Foreign Minister says he has been told that 30,000 people are missing. But due to the incompleteness of the information from the stricken Irrawaddy delta, UN and charity workers in the city of Rangoon privately believe that the number will eventually be several times higher.

Andrew Kirkwood, country director of the British charity Save The Children told The Times: “I’d characterise it as unprecedented in the history of Myanmar and on an order of magnitude with the effect of the tsunami on individual countries. It might well be more dead than the tsunami caused in Sri Lanka.”

Additionally, as many as 2 - 3 million people are homeless and in some towns as much as 95% of the infrastructure has been destroyed.

UPDATE: The estimates of loss of life continue to grow. The UN has been granted access by the military government and is rushing aid to the devastated country.

Myanmar believes 13,000 dead, missing from cyclone

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar's military junta believes at least 10,000 people died in a cyclone that ripped through the Irrawaddy delta, triggering a massive international aid response for the pariah state in southeast Asia.
"The basic message was that they believe the provisional death toll was about 10,000 with 3,000 missing," a Yangon-based diplomat told Reuters in Bangkok, summarizing a briefing from Foreign Minister Nyan Win. "It's a very serious toll."
The scale of the disaster from Saturday's devastating cyclone drew a rare acceptance of outside help from the diplomatically isolated generals, who spurned such approaches in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.


The official toll on state media stands at 3,394 dead and 2,879 missing, although
those figures only cover two of the five declared disaster zones, where U.N. officials say hundreds of thousands are without shelter or drinking water.
The casualty count has been rising quickly as authorities reach hard-hit islands and villages in the Irrawaddy delta, the former "rice bowl of Asia" which bore the brunt of Cyclone Nargis's 190 km (120 miles) per hour winds.

Cyclone plunges Myanmar into primitive existence

May 5 (Reuters) -
Here are the latest developments on Monday following Saturday's devastating Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar


- 3,934 killed, 41 injured and 2,879 missing within the Yangon
and Irrawaddy divisions, says Myanmar TV. The death toll is expected to rise as
it only covers two of the five disaster zones.

- U.N. says Myanmar
accepts international aid offers, shipments being prepared at once. U.N. says
hundreds of thousands of people are without shelter and drinking water.

- Soldiers and police kill 36 prisoners after riot at Yangon's notorious
Insein prison in chaos following cyclone, Thailand-based human rights group

- Cyclone was a Category 3 storm, with winds of 190 kph (120 mph).

- Junta leaders say they will go ahead with May 10 referendum on a new
army-drafted constitution that critics say will entrench the military.
Nargis hit Myanmar as a dangerous Category 3 cyclone. Government estimates are that as many as 10,000 people may die as a result of this storm. As of this morning close to 4,000 are dead with as many as 3,000 missing.

According to GDACS over 7 million people can be affected by hurricane force winds with just under 2 million living in low lying coastal areas (elevations below 5 meters).

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