The New York Times writes that if those numbers are accurate, the death toll would be the highest from a natural disaster in Asia since the tsunami of December 2004, which devastated coastlines in South Asia and claimed 181,000 lives.
“Stories get worse by the hour,” one Yangon resident, who did not want to be identified for fear of government retribution, said in an e-mail message. “No drinking water in many areas, still no power. Houses completely disappeared. Refugees scavenging for food in poorer areas. Roofing, building supplies, tools — all are scarce and prices skyrocketing on everything.”
Myanmar government officials have said that they would open the doors to international relief groups. But relief efforts have been hampered because of lack of the military government, according to the Times.
Also, most foreigners and all foreign journalists have been barred from entering the country. Several journalists are writing from Cambodia and Thailand as death tolls continue to increase.
Meanwhile, the military junta has agreed to delay voting for the much-awaited new constitution in the areas that are most affected by the cyclone. International governments had earlier criticized Burma for using newspaper and radio ads asking people to vote rather than informing them of the dangers of the cyclone.
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