Monday, May 5, 2008

Toll Exceeds 15,000

The degree of the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar is expanding by the hour. CNN reports:

YANGON, Myanmar (CNN) -- The death toll from the Myanmar cyclone is more than 15,000 people, Myanmar's government has said.

Survivors were facing their third night without electricity in the aftermath of the historic cyclone that also clogged roads with thousands of downed trees.

Diplomats were summoned to a government briefing Monday as the reclusive southeast Asian country's ruling military junta issued a rare appeal for international assistance in the face of an escalating humanitarian crisis.

A state of emergency was declared across much of the country following the 10-hour storm that left swathes of destruction in its wake.

The death toll of more than 15,000, official sources told the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua, makes the weekend cyclone the deadliest natural disaster to hit Myanmar in recent history, according to figures compiled by a U.N.-funded disaster database...

In the early hours after any natural disaster, the scope of the situation is never clear. What's clear about this particular situation is that no one really yet has a handle on the degree of devastation in Myanmar, particularly in the outlying regions where access and communication are all but impossible.

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