27 dead in Myanmar cyclone

Monday, October 25, 2010

YANGON - Cyclone Giri killed at least 27 people when it slammed into Myanmar’s western coast last week, state television reported Monday.

Myanmar TV reported in an evening broadcast that 22 people had died in Myebon township and five others in Minbya, in the Rakhine State, as a result of Giri hitting the coast Friday night packing 160 km per hour winds.

Another 15 people were listed as missing in Myebon, the state-run television reported.

Myanmar’s military-controlled press had previously been mum on the damage wrought by the cyclone, perhaps wary of printing any bad news that reflects poorly on the ruling military regime in the run-up to the first election in 20 years Nov 7.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported over the weekend that it had deployed emergency teams with the local Red Cross to respond to the cyclone.

“The Myanmar Red Cross Society says the most urgent needs are for food, water and shelter,” the federation said.

In 2008, cyclone Nargis smashed into Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta, unleashing a killer tsunami that devastated crops, boats and housing while claiming at least 130,000 lives.

State media initially downplayed the impact of that storm, which coincided with preparations for a planned referendum by the ruling junta to win approval for its new constitution.

Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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