Myanmar Cyclone Death Toll Reaches 10,000, Junta Says (Update2)
By Demian McLean and Michael Heath
May 6 (Bloomberg) -- The death toll from the tropical cyclone that slammed into Myanmar three days ago rose to at least 10,000, according to the junta, making the storm Southeast Asia's deadliest natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami.
About 3,000 people are missing in the Irrawaddy delta region alone, Myanmar government ministers told international diplomats yesterday, the United Nations news agency IRIN said. Power was knocked out in the former capital, Yangon, and drinking water was contaminated in the city of 5 million people.
``At least eight townships are completely or mostly destroyed,'' said Pamela Sitko, a worker with the U.S.-based Christian relief group World Vision, who has spoken with colleagues in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
The U.S. yesterday offered an initial $250,000 in aid to the country, which is among the world's least-developed, while castigating its military leadership for failing to alert citizens to the approaching cyclone.
``Although they were aware of the threat, Burma's state-run media failed to issue a timely warning to citizens in the storm's path,'' First Lady Laura Bush said from the White House.
About 10,000 people were killed in the town of Bogalay alone, Reuters cited state-run television as saying. Myanmar has a population of 47.8 million.
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