Asia Crisis

Myanmar cyclone toll rises to 138,000 dead, missing

A village, hit by Cyclone Nargis, in the Irrawaddy delta region of Myanmar is seen in this picture taken June 5, 2008. REUTERS/GMI/Handout

YANGON (Reuters) - More than 138,000 are dead or missing from the devastating cyclone that struck Myanmar last month, the government said on Tuesday, according to an Asian diplomat.

Deputy Foreign Minister Kyaw Thu informed a meeting of government and foreign aid workers the official death toll from the May 2 disaster had risen to 84,537 from a previous figure of 77,738, the diplomat told Reuters.

The number of missing fell to 53,836 from 55,917 announced by the government in its last casualty update on May 16.

Nearly two months after Cyclone Nargis left up to 2.4 million people destitute, a joint assessment team has recently completed its work and a new appeal for foreign aid is expected in July.

Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Editing by Darren Schuettler and Jerry Norton