The Archbishop of Burma and a Burmese priest who is visiting the UK have described the devastation wrought by Cyclone Nargis in their country. One aid worker called the scene he found there a “nuclear landscape”.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Archbishop of Myanmar, the Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo, said that the official number of deaths was 78,000, and more than 56,000 were counted as missing. Aid agencies estimate that deaths are nearer to 128,000, and the UN says that 2.4 million people are in grave need of aid.
The Archbishop said that the Church had formed a relief committee and had sent four teams to the affected areas. “In some places, entire villages have been devastated, with few if any survivors. In other places, survivors have huddled together in makeshift shelters awaiting aid.
“Travel in that area is very difficult, and villages are often in very isolated and remote areas, accessible only by boat. The overall situation is still relatively fluid, with government policy shifting in response to new developments.”