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Myanmar survivors mark cyclone anniversary

Emotional survivors gathered in Myanmar to remember the 138,000 people left dead or missing by Cyclone Nargis, despite authorities largely ignoring the storm's first anniversary.

world Updated: May 03, 2009 14:05 IST

Emotional survivors gathered in Myanmar on Sunday to remember the 138,000 people left dead or missing by Cyclone Nargis, despite authorities largely ignoring the storm's first anniversary.

No official ceremonies were planned and state media made no mention of the deadly storm, which lay waste to large swathes of the country on May 2-3 last year and drew worldwide criticism for Myanmar's military rulers.

Only the Myanmar language daily newspaper Myanma Ahlin showed any reference to the 2.4 million people affected by the cyclone, with photographs of the new houses authorities have built for some of the survivors.

Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar on May 2 and 3 with wind speeds reaching 240 kilometres an hour and storm surges up to four metres high.

Thousands of homes were swept away, rice fields were flooded with saltwater and schools and hospitals were ravaged in the storm.

A year later aid agencies say half a million people remain without adequate homes, while at least 250,000 people will require food handouts until the end of 2009 at the earliest.