Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Death toll nears 100,000 in Myanmar

Witnesses said Saturday's storm, packing winds of 190 kilometres (120 miles) per hour, had left the delta region submerged under six-metre (20-foot) waters higher than the tree-tops -- and left countless corpses rotting in the heat.

Tracking the path of Cyclone Nargis
clipped from
The death toll from the Myanmar cyclone could top 100,000, the top US diplomat in the country said Wednesday, as thousands of shell-shocked survivors emerged from the flood waters, desperate for food.

The dramatic warning came as global pressure mounted on Myanmar's ruling generals to open up to foreign aid, with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling it a "critical moment" for one of the world's poorest nations.

UN humanitarian chief John Holmes said the country once known as Burma was facing a "major catastrophe", urging the junta to facilitate the arrival of disaster relief teams and the distribution of badly-needed emergency supplies.

An AFP reporter who reached the town of Labutta in the remote southern Irrawaddy delta hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis, which officially left more than 65,000 dead or missing, said there was virtually no food or fresh water left.

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