Official cyclone death toll up to 43,318

May 16, 2008 (DVB), The Burmese military regime has raised its official estimate of the number of people killed as a result of Cyclone Nargis, which devastated parts of the country on 2 and 3 May.

As of 6pm yesterday, the government's official figures put the number of dead at 43,318, with 1403 injured and 27,838 missing, according to the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

But the United Nations and international aid agencies say the number may be significantly higher, and could continue to rise if aid efforts are not able to reach the people in need.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has said as many as 127,990 people may have died as a result of the cyclone, while the UN says more than 100,000 may have perished.

The UN also estimated that between 1.6 and 2.5 million people have been severely affected by the disaster.

Reporting by Si√¢n Thomas

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