Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Myanmar designates three days of mourning for cyclone victims

YANGON, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar designated on Monday three days of mourning for cyclone disaster starting from Tuesday to Thursday, according to an announcement of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) aired by the state radio in the evening.

The announcement, signed by First Secretary of the SPDC Lieutenant-General Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo, sets the mourning activities to start on Tuesday at 9 a.m. (local time) with the state flag to fly half-mast. A deadly tropical cyclone Nargis, which occurred over the Bay of Bengal, hit five divisions and states -- Ayeyawaddy, Yangon, Bago, Mon and Kayin on May 2 and 3, of which Ayeyawaddy and Yangoninflicted the heaviest casualties and massive infrastructural damage including religious buildings, schools, hospitals, vessels, animals, crops cultivation, forest and ration.

According to an updated official death toll, as many as 77,738 people have been killed with 55,917 still missing totaling 133,655in the disaster. The number of the injured went to 19,359.  

bbc;As Burma begins three days of official mourning for its cyclone victims, the World Bank has said it can't provide any financial help because the country hasn't been servicing its debt.

A spokesman for the bankယ Peter Stephensယ told the BBC Burma had been in arrears since 1998, and that World Bank rules would prevent it from lending any money for reconstruction.

Burma's military government has had numerous offers of emergency supplies since the cyclone hit two-and-a-half weeks ago, but until Monday had refused to allow in foreign aid workers.

It now says it will allow in some relief workers from neighbouring countries.

Nearly eighty-thousand people are now known to have died; hundreds of thousands more are still without adequate shelter, food or water.

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