Myanmar storm victims seek aid; Thai flood deaths rise

Cyclone Giri struck Myanmar`s west coast near town of Kyaukphyu on Friday.

Yangon: A cyclone that hit western Myanmar has forced thousands of people from their homes, a resident said on Sunday, while the government tried to assess the damage and send relief supplies.

Cyclone Giri struck Myanmar`s west coast near the town of Kyaukphyu on Friday.

There has been no official announcement from the military government on damage or casualties but a senior official in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement said there had been at least one death, a girl killed by a falling tree.

"We are still surveying the damage and casualties while carrying out relief work," said the official, who declined to be identified. "Relief goods are being sent by boat and air."

In neighbouring Thailand, unusually heavy rain has caused the worst flooding in decades. The state-run Narenthorn Emergency Medical Centre put the death toll at 38, up from 32 the previous day.

Coastal regions of Myanmar are often hit by strong storms. More than 130,000 people were killed or went missing when Cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy river delta in May 2008.

Residents of the region said damage was extensive and there had been no systematic relief work.

"Damage to property is huge. Nearly all the houses made of bamboo and thatch were completely destroyed," said businessman Ko Kyaw Khin.

About 4,000 people were seeking refuge at shelters run by Buddhist monks and other citizens, he said.

"Monks and private well-wishers are providing these people whatever food they can with their limited resources," he said.

There were fears for the residents of the islands of Kyunthaya and Ngapathon, off the coast, he said.

"We`ve heard a number of villagers there were completely covered with water," he said, adding boats had gone out to investigate.

On the mainland, embankments had been broken and low-lying areas inundated by a tidal surge, he said, adding villagers faced a shortage of drinking water.

In Thailand, at least 29 provinces have been affected by the heavy rain, mainly in the northeast and centre, covering about a quarter of the country.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said 1.5 million people had been affected and he promised a coordinated response to help.

Bangkok is on flood alert with excess water flowing from the north down the Chao Phraya river coinciding with high tides at the river`s mouth to the south.

Bureau Report