Myanmar cyclone death toll nears 15,000
Latest estimate from the government came up to 14,911 victims with 2,000 people still listed as missing.6 May 2008
YANGON - The death toll from cyclone Nargis, which smashed into central Myanmar over the weekend, was close to 15,000 with many still listed as missing, a senior minister said on Tuesday.
Myanmar Information Minister Brigadier General Kyaw Hsan told a press conference in Yangon that the death toll in Bogalay township, of the Irrawaddy region, was close to 10,000, while the toll on Haing Kyi island was 975, on Mawlamyaing island 1,835 and in Laputta township about 1,000.
In Yangon, Myanmar's largest city and chief commercial hub, the cyclone killed 59 people.
Altogether, Kyaw Hsan said the government's latest estimate for the cyclone's victims was 14,911, with about 2,000 still listed as missing in the Irrawaddy region and some 500 in Yangon.
Hundreds of thousands have been left homeless and without basic utilities by the cyclone, which blew off the Bay of Bengal late Friday, packing winds of up to 200 kilometres per hour, wrecking much of the country's already fragile infrastructure and threatening its precarious food supply.
Yangon, Myanmar's former capital and the country's commercial hub, was among the places hardest hit by the storm, which uprooted trees, toppled electricity and telephone poles, and burst water pipes, leaving the city of several million without basic utilities.
In Bangkok, United Nations agencies and other international aid organisations met Tuesday to prepare for emergency disaster relief for the country.
Myanmar's ruling junta, notorious for its xenophobia, on Monday welcomed disaster relief from the international community, although it has yet to set the conditions under which it will be distributed.
In the past, the regime has been reluctant to allow foreign aid workers to work in remote areas considered "sensitive".
[dpa / ANP / Expatica]