[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/07/art.myanmar.292.320.jpg caption = "Cyclone affected families waiting for the relief goods outside their destroyed homes." width=292 height=320]
The numbers are shocking. 10,000 dead. Then yesterday 50,000. Now a top U.S. diplomat inside Burma suggests the death toll could be as high as 100,000. The truth is we don’t know. We may never fully know.
We’ve heard reports of bodies being dumped into rivers. We’ve seen this before. In Rwanda in 1994 I stood on a bridge over a river and saw dozens of bodies float downstream. They would collect at the base of a waterfall, caught in the swirling water, terribly bloated. I can still smell them. How many people in Burma will simply disappear?
What has happened in Burma is a natural disaster, but what is happening now is a man-made outrage. The government of Burma has been slow to allow aid groups in. I have been trying to get a visa for days now, but have not been granted one yet.
It is frustrating, to say the least. It’s important for journalists to be allowed in to convey the true scale of the catastrophe. It’s even more important that international aid groups be granted immediate access to the hardest hit areas.
CNN has a correspondent in Burma who is working around the clock to get information out. He is doing a great job. Many of us here at CNN wish we could join him. It is not for lack of trying.
Burma has seen so much suffering, so much pain, but what’s happening now should not be about politics or positions. It should be about getting aid to those in need, and preventing the spread of disease. We will be bringing you the latest from Burma tonight, in addition to the latest on politics here in the US.
100,000 dead. 50,000. 10,000. Their stories deserve to be told.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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