BURMESE HURRICANE DEATH TOLL HITS 10,000
CYCLONE NARGIS DEVASTATES MYANMAR
U.S. DOES NOTHING
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Cyclone Devastates Myanmar
"Myanmar believes cyclone killed at least 10,000: diplomat"
"By Aung Hla Tun
YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar's military junta believes at least 10,000 people died in a cyclone that ripped through the Irrawaddy delta, triggering a massive international aid response for the pariah southeast Asian nation.
'The basic message was that they believe the provisional death toll was about 10,000 with 3,000 missing,' a Yangon-based diplomat told Reuters in Bangkok, summarizing a briefing from Foreign Minister Nyan Win. 'It's a very serious toll.'
The scale of the disaster from Saturday's devastating cyclone drew a rare acceptance of outside help from the diplomatically isolated generals, who spurned such approaches in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
The secretive military, which has ruled the former Burma for 46 years, has moved even further into the shadows in the last six months due to the widespread outrage at its bloody crackdown on protests led by Buddhist monks in September.
The official toll on state media stands at 3,394 dead and 2,879 missing, although those figures only cover two of the five declared disaster zones, where U.N. officials say hundreds of thousands are without shelter or drinking water.
The casualty count has been rising quickly as authorities reach hard-hit islands and villages in the Irrawaddy delta, the former 'rice bowl of Asia' which bore the brunt of Cyclone Nargis's 190 km (120 miles) per hour winds."
"States, aid agencies offer to help storm-hit Myanmar"
"WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN SCOTT STANZEL
'We are concerned about the reports coming out of Burma and mourn the loss of life. The U.S. embassy is in touch with Burmese authorities. The ambassador there has released some assistance funds under her authority and that money will go through the World Food Program and other aid entities. It doesn't necessarily go directly to the government. But we're in the process of assessing what more we can do.' "
Meanwhile, U.S. President George W. Bush excoriates Asians for eating too much, driving up the price of ethanol.
FUEL FOR THOUGHT: 'LET THEM EAT ETHANOL,' DUBYA
DISASTER RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS
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