Up to 10,000 Dead in Burma Cyclone

Toll continues to rise as relief officials gain access to hard-hit areas
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2008 1:24 PM CDT
In this photo released by Democratic Voice of Burma, people walk past fallen trees at a street in Yangon on Sunday May 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/ Democratic Voice of Burma, HO)
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(Newser) – As many as 10,000 might have died in the cyclone that struck Burma on Saturday, a government official told foreign diplomats today, and that number could rise yet higher as aid workers pick through the rubble. The death toll, originally estimated at 351, had already been raised to 4,000 earlier today, the Times of London reports.

“How many people are affected? We know that it’s in the six figures,” said a UN disaster-response official. “We know that it's several hundred thousand needing shelter and clean drinking water, but how many hundred thousand we just don't know.” In Rangoon, electricity and telephone systems have almost completely broken down, and there have been reports of looting.