YANGON, Burma --Almost 4,000 people were killed and nearly 3,000 others areCan you say, "Katrina"?
unaccounted for after a devastating cyclone in Myanmar, a state radio station
Foreign Minister Nyan Win told foreign diplomats at a briefing
that the death toll could reach 10,000, according to diplomats who spoke on
condition of anonymity because the meeting was held behind closed
Tropical Cyclone Nargis hit the Southeast Asian country, also known as
Burma, early Saturday with winds of up to 120 mph, leaving hundreds of thousands
of people homeless.
The government had previously put the death toll
countrywide at 351 before increasing it Monday to 3,939.
The radio station
broadcasting from the country's capital, Naypyitaw, said that 2,879 more people
are unaccounted for in a single town, Bogalay, in the country's low-lying
Irrawaddy River delta area where the storm wreaked the most havoc.
are coming out of the delta coast, particularly the Irrawaddy region, that in
some villages up to 95 percent of houses have been destroyed," said Matthew
Cochrane at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies' Geneva headquarters.
The situation in the countryside remained
unclear because of poor communications and roads left impassable by the
"Widespread destruction is obviously making it more difficult to get
aid to people who need it most," said Michael Annear, regional disaster
management coordinator for the federation.
In Washington, the State
Department said the U.S. Embassy in Yangon had authorized an emergency
contribution of $250,000 to help with relief efforts. But it added that the
Myanmar government initially had refused to allow a U.S. Disaster Assistance
Response Team into the country to assess damage.