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Myanmar cyclone death toll rises to over 38,000

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The death toll in Myanmar's Cyclone Nargis has risen to 38,500, making it the worst natural disaster to hit the region since the 2004 tsunami which killed some 250,000 people, state radio announced on Wednesday.
MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) - The death toll in Myanmar's Cyclone Nargis has risen to 38,500, making it the worst natural disaster to hit the region since the 2004 tsunami which killed some 250,000 people, state radio announced on Wednesday.

The cyclone hit Myanmar on May 3, devastating large parts of the country. Over 28,000 people are still unaccounted for.

According to UN estimates up to 2 million people have been 'severely' affected by the cyclone and the death toll may stand at "between 63,000 and 100,000, or possibly even higher."

The Red Cross said today the eventual death toll may be between 68,833 and 127,990.

The British aid group Oxfam said the death toll could hit 1.5 million if disease broke out and people did not get access to clean water.

A state of emergency has been introduced in the five worst-hit areas - the Irrawaddy delta, the cities of Yangon and Pegu, and the states of Karen and Mon. Most of the deaths have been in the low-lying Irrawaddy delta region.

Though aid has begun to trickle through to the disaster-hit country many organizations have reported that distribution is being delayed by the military authorities, who are reluctant to permit foreigners into the worst-hit areas.

The UN said on its website on Wednesday it had delivered over 40 tons of temporary shelter supplies to Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, within the last 24 hours.

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