Myanmar cyclone toll climbs to nearly 22,500

Updated: 2008-05-06 23:03

Bernard Delpuech, a European Union aid official in Yangon, said the Mynamar government had sent three ships carrying food to the delta region. Nearly half the country's 53 million people live in the five disaster-hit states.

Media have made much of the military's response, showing footage of soldiers manhandling tree trunks or top generals climbing into helicopters or greeting homeless storm victims in Buddhist temples.


Aid agency World Vision in Australia said it had been granted special visas to send in personnel to back up 600 staff in the impoverished Southeast Asian country.

"This is massive. It is not necessarily quite tsunami level, but in terms of impact of millions displaced, thousands dead, it is just terrible," World Vision Australia head Tim Costello said.

"Organisations like ours have been given permission, which is pretty unprecedented, to fly people in. he said.

Residents of Yangon, a city of 5 million, were queuing up for bottled water and there was still no electricity four days after the cyclone struck.

Prices of food, fuel and construction materials have skyrocketed, and most shops have sold out of candles and batteries. An egg costs three times what it did on Friday.

"Generators are selling very well under the generals," said one man waiting outside a shop.

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