The death toll from a devastating cyclone that swept through Myanmar has risen to almost 4,000, a state radio station said yesterday. Nearly 3,000 were unaccounted for in a single town.
The radio station, broadcasting from the capital, Naypyitaw, said 2,879 people were unaccounted for in Bogalay, a town in the country’s low-lying Irrawaddy River delta area where the storm wreaked the most havoc.
The government had put the death toll countrywide from Saturday’s Cyclone Nargis at 351 before increasing it to 3,939 late yesterday.
Meanwhile, soldiers and police killed 36 prisoners inside Myanmar’s most infamous jail to quell a riot that started in the devastating wake of Nargis, a Thailand-based human-rights group said yesterday.
After the storm ripped zinc roof sheets of many cell blocks, guards at Yangon’s notorious Insein prison herded about 1,000 prisoners into a large hall and locked the doors, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma said. The men lit a fire to get warm, but thick smoke quickly filled the building, sparking panic.
“The situation escalated and chaos ensued,” the group, one of the most reliable sources of information about conditions in Myanmar, said in a statement.