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As Many as 10,000 Dead in Burma Cyclone


Burma's military government says more than 10,000 people may have died during Cyclone Nargis, which hit the nation on Saturday.

Officials gave the revised estimate Monday, as information continued to come in from outlying areas.

Officials say thousands of other people are missing, while hundreds of thousands are without shelter. The prices of food and fuel have risen dramatically. The government has declared the city of Rangoon and five central and southern states, Yangon, Ayeyawaddy, Bago, Mon and Karen disaster areas.

Some witnesses of the devastation have complained that the government is not doing enough to help survivors of the storm.

And a human rights group said today that guards at Burma's Insein prison killed 36 inmates in a prison riot after the cyclone. The Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said the riot started after some inmates tried to light a fire to keep warm.

Despite the upheaval, Burma's military government says a constitutional referendum will go ahead Saturday.

In a statement carried by state media Monday, the government said the referendum is only a few days away and the people are eagerly looking forward to voting.

Burma's military rulers have said the vote on May 10 will clear the way for democratic elections in 2010. The opposition says the proposed constitution will reinforce military control.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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