Cyclone's Toll Worsens

UN says 2.5M people have been 'severely affected' by the storm
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2008 8:04 PM CDT
Myanmar children reach their hands out to receive a free banana from a local donor on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, on Wednesday May 14, 2008. (AP Photo)   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The UN today nearly doubled its estimate of the number of people "severely affected" by the cyclone in Burma to up to 2.5 million and said they were in dire need of immediate aid, Reuters reports. The frustrated UN chief urged the creation of a "high-level pledging conference" of donor nations and said it was sending a top diplomat to meet with Burmese leaders to try to convince them to allow in more aid and relief workers. 

Those leaders, however, continue to insist they have the situation under control. The International Red Cross said that between 68,000 and 128,000 people have died so far. Even the lower number is about double the official state figure. Two weeks after the cyclone, relief remains at a relative trickle, and a US military official said supplies were stacking up at the Yangon airport.