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British PM: UN Plans Emergency Summit in Asia Regarding Burma


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the United Nations is planning an emergency summit in Asia to address Burma's growing humanitarian crisis created by Cyclone Nargis.

Mr. Brown told reporters Thursday in London at his monthly press conference that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to meet with donor states and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Burma.

A U.N. official confirmed Thursday that Mr. Ban has proposed a meeting Wednesday to the Asian nations. ASEAN is expected to discuss Burma Monday in Singapore.

Officials also announced U.N. humanitarian chief, John Holmes, is awaiting approval for his visa to travel to Burma. They said Holmes wants to travel to the Irrawaddy delta, the region hardest hit by the storm.

Burmese state media today raised the cyclone death toll to more than 43,000. Officials say the death toll could rise to more than 100,000 people as famine and disease take hold.

The Red Cross says 2.5 million people may have been affected by the storm and its aftermath.

Burma's leaders have declined most offers of foreign aid workers. They also have been slow to accept shipments of food, water and supplies.

Human Rights Watch warned this week that foreign donors must closely monitor aid shipments to the region.

The New York-based group says that without independent monitors on the ground, the international community cannot be sure aid is reaching those who need it most.

The Burmese government says it will investigate any claims of misused aid.

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