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More Than 350 Killed in Burma Cyclone


Officials in Burma say more than 350 people have been killed by a powerful tropical cyclone that slammed into the Irrawaddy delta and the country's main city, Rangoon.

The military government declared Rangoon and five central and southern states, Yangon, Ayeyawaddy, Bago, Mon and Karen disaster areas on Sunday.

Officials say Cyclone Nargis, with winds of up to 190 kilometers per hour, caused extensive damage in Rangoon and the Irrawaddy delta town of Bassein.

State media said nearly 100,000 people were left homeless on the island of Haing Gyi alone. Only one of four buildings were left standing in two mainland townships, Kyaik Lat and Laputta.

Television footage showed roofs blown off buildings, downed trees and telephone poles blocking roads.

U.N. officials in neighboring Thailand say local and international relief workers planned to meet in Rangoon to assess the damage.

Some Rangoon residents said the city was still without electricity and running water Sunday, and prices of food and gasoline had risen sharply.

The powerful storm also knocked out state-run radio, television, telephone and Internet services.

There is no word whether the storm damage will affect next Saturday's scheduled constitutional referendum.

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, AP and Reuters.