A senior U.S. diplomat in Myanmar said the death toll in cyclone Nargis that swept Myanmar's five divisions and states may exceed 100,000, according to media reports Thursday.
"The information we are receiving indicates over 100,000 deaths," said Shari Villarosa, the U.S. charge d'affaires in Yangon, "I think most of the damage was caused by these 12-foot storm surges."
The death toll is about 23,000 according to the Myanmar state radio by Wednesday night, and the number of missing has risen to 42,119. But Villarosa said 70,000 people are missing in the Irrawaddy Delta, which has a population of nearly 6 million people.
Villarosa said the U.S. figure is based on data from an international non-governmental organization, without naming the group.
"I can only assume that the longer the delay, the more victims that are created," she said.
(Xinhua News Agency via agencies May 8, 2008)