Pattaya Daily News

06 May 2008 :: 15:05:47 pm 29970

Total Devastation In Burma ? Tens Of Thousands Dead

As the news is slowly filtering in from Burma, the scenario gets more and more horrific. It transpires the announcement of 10, 000 killed by the cyclone Nargis, made by the Myanmar Foreign Ministry yesterday, May 5, 2008, refers not to the nation as a whole, but to just one town, Bogalay;?the current figures are 15,000 and rising. Additional damning news is that the state-controlled media effectively did not issue a warning of the impending tropical storm.
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Here is the full article from YANGON (Reuters) – At least 15,000 people were killed in the Myanmar cyclone and the toll was likely to rise as officials made contact with the worst-hit areas, the military government’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Nyan Win said on state television that 10,000 people had died in just one town, Bogalay, as he gave the first detailed account of what is emerging as the worst cyclone to hit Asia since 1991, when 143,000 people were killed in Bangladesh.

“In Irrawaddy Division the death toll amounts to more than 10,000,” he said in a state television broadcast, in which he also said the military government welcomed outside assistance, an unprecedented green light to governments and aid agencies who want to help with the recovery.

“The missing is about 3,000. In Bogalay, the death toll is about 10,000,” the minister said in the broadcast monitored outside of the Southeast Asian country.

The United Nations and the former Burma’s neighbours are scrambling to deliver food, clean water and shelter to survivors after the junta, the latest face of 46 years of unbroken military rule, gave them permission.

The total left homeless by the 190 km (120 miles) per hour winds and 12 foot (3.5 meter) storm surge is in the several hundred thousands, United Nations aid officials say, and could run into the millions.

In Yangon, a city of 5 million, people were queuing up for bottled water and there was still no electricity four days after the vicious Cyclone Nargis struck the delta, rice bowl of the country of 53 million people.

“Generators are selling very well under the generals,” said one man waiting outside a shop, reflecting some of the resentment on the streets to what many described as a slow warning and response to the cyclone’s 190 km (120 miles) per hour winds.

Very few soldiers were seen clearing debris and trees, except at major intersections, residents in the former capital said. Monks and residents, using what tools they had, cut trees.

“The regime has lost a golden opportunity to send the soldiers as soon as the storm stopped to win the heart and soul of people,” said a retired civil servant.

GENERALS ACCEPT AID

The last major storm to ravage Asia was Cyclone Sidr, which killed 3,300 people in Bangladesh last November. The scale of the disaster 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 U.S. Embassy in Myanmar authorized the release of $250,000 in immediate emergency aid, and U.S. first lady Laura Bush, a critic of the junta, promised more would be forthcoming.

However, she urged Myanmar’s military rulers to first accept a U.S. disaster response team that so far has been kept out, saying it would clear the way for broader aid.

The secretive junta has moved even further into the shadows in the last six months due to widespread outrage at its bloody crackdown on protests led by Buddhist monks in September.

After getting a “careful green light” from the government, the United Nations said it was pulling out all the stops to send in emergency aid such as food, clean water, blankets and plastic sheeting.

“The U.N. will begin preparing assistance now to be delivered and transported to Myanmar as quickly as possible,” World Food Programme (WFP) spokesman Paul Risley said.

A Thai military plane carrying 9 metric tons of food is due to leave Bangkok later on Tuesday, the first outside aid package.

Aid agency World Vision said it had been granted special visas to send in personnel to back up the 600 staff in the country.

“This is massive. It is not necessarily quite tsunami level, but in terms of impact of millions displaced, thousands dead, it is just terrible,” World Vision Australia head Tim Costello told Reuters.

“Organizations like ours have been given permission, which is pretty unprecedented, to fly people in. This shows how grave it is in the Burmese government’s mind,” he said.

With grateful acknowledgement to Fox News for the action photos in this article.

Warning:
watch 49 seconds video of the dead bodies 

Reporter : PDN staff   Category : World News

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