May 7th, 2008
04:42 PM ET

What 100,000 people means...

David Reisner
360° Digital Producer

A U.S. diplomat says the Myanmar cyclone death-toll may top 100,000…

It’s hard to fathom just how many people 100,000 really amounts to.
How do we take in the death of that many people at once?

Here's one way to look at it: Imagine any one of these U.S. cities disappearing - overnight.
That drives it home for me, what about for you?


What 100,000 means

  • Berkeley, California
  • Burbank, California
  • Waterbury, Connecticut
  • Pompano Beach, Florida
  • Athens-Clarke County, Georgia
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Springfield, Illinois
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Topeka, Kansas
  • Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Elizabeth, New Jersey
  • Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Norman, Oklahoma
  • Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Beaumont, Texas
  • Waco, Texas
  • Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Bellevue, Washington
  • Green Bay, Wisconsin

Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2006

Filed under: Cyclone • Myanmar
May 7th, 2008
03:16 PM ET

Burma: Stories that must be told

[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]
Anderson Cooper

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.

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Cyclone • Myanmar
May 7th, 2008
02:33 PM ET

Bloggers describe 'sad moment' for Myanmar

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/05/07/myanmar.blogs/art.myanmar.damage.irpt.jpg caption="Power lines are down in Yangon after the cyclone struck Myanmar in a photo from iReport contributor Erik Hetrick"]

Eyewitness reports on the devastation and suffering left in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar trickled out Wednesday by way of Web sites and blogs.

"This is indeed a very sad moment for all Myanmar people," blogger Myat Thura wrote from neighboring Thailand.

More than 22,000 people have died, according to estimates from Myanmar's state-run media. Another 40,000 are believed to be missing, according to the estimates, and 1 million have been left homeless since the storm hit last weekend in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

"They are my people and it hurts me so much. Why our Burmese people have to suffer such kind of hardship? Why us?" Myat Thura wrote.

Another blogger, who calls herself May Burma, blamed the storm's devastation on corruption and dissipation in Myanmar society.

"Burmese used to say that our country never had natural disaster since we have our religion, culture and so many arhats [spiritual practitioners], pure monks and sayadaws [senior monks]. This is not the case anymore lately," she wrote.

A blogger called Rule of Lords claimed to translate reports from Thai television station Yoma 3 into English.

According to Rule of Lords, the station quoted eyewitnesses who said refugees were pouring into Laputta, even though the storm flattened the city of 50,000

Read more here:

Filed under: Cyclone • Myanmar
May 7th, 2008
12:10 PM ET

The quiet after the Cyclone… because aid can’t get in

This report includes graphic content - Viewer discretion is advised - CNN's Dan Rivers travels to Bogalay, Myanmar for a first-hand account of the devastation in the wake of Cyclone Nargis.
This report includes graphic content - Viewer discretion is advised - CNN's Dan Rivers travels to Bogalay, Myanmar for a first-hand account of the devastation in the wake of Cyclone Nargis.

Hey bloggers,

Just wanted to update you on the latest on the killer Cyclone (Cyclone Nargis) that ripped through Myanmar’s low-lying delta region a few days ago. The biggest problem now is getting aid into the country. Most of the aid workers are stuck in Thailand, waiting to cross into Myanmar… Political red-tape is hindering several nations from getting on the ground and providing resources to the victims.

The death toll in Myanmar is staggering: its military government says more than 22,000 people died. Aid agencies are trying to get food and medical supplies to the stranded survivors, which include a million without homes. Those that have survived have shared their harrowing tales of survival and talk of living in the storm’s aftermath…

Here are some firsthand accounts from victims we’ve spoken with in Myanmar:

Witness: “All people I saw are crying so much and searching for the bodies of loved ones. There is bad smell from the dead bodies on the way we came.”
Reporter: “The Dead bodies have not yet been removed? “ Witness:”There are bodies where they have not yet searched. We found about 40 dead bodies on this way. A group of cows and buffalos are among victims. “
Reporter: “Are the dead bodies are floating in the water?"
Witness: "Everywhere… In the bushes, and in the streams. Everywhere..."

Witness: “The tide came up. Trees fell on people. There are many dead bodies lying under trees. Now many people do not have home to live in.
Reporter: “How many people died?”
Witness: ”I found so many dead bodies on the way, and so many animals that were terribly killed. A large group in each location.
Reporter: “Many children died? “
Witness: “Not just children, also adults, elderly ones, all.”
Reporter: “All the villagers died? Only 6 are left alive in the entire village.”

Witness: “The tide comes up with the storm. So people came out from their homes and tried to sleep on the road. I think there may be more than 1,000 people sleeping on the road.”
Reporter: "Are there any homes left?”
Witness"No homes are left. People are now searching for the bodies of their family members. Many families lost love ones, 3, 5, etc. We are so lucky that we survived. We left all our property and brought nothing with us when escaped. We escaped at night”

For more on how to help the people of Myanmar, click here:

– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer

Filed under: Cyclone • Myanmar
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