In Matupi, a town in Chin State, the farmer Salai Khaung Lian, 68, said he fled to higher ground in the forest with his wife and two grandsons on Sunday before the storm hit. The cyclone blew the roof off their home, and now they have no place to go.
“We don’t have shelter, food or drink,” he said by phone. “I just hope we get help before we die.”
On Thursday, the junta reported that 48 people had died in the storm, although rescuers in one devastated area told The Times the number was nearly 10 times that.
Dr. Win Myat Aye, the minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management for the rival National Unity Government, said that at least 455 people had died, according to reports he had received.
Most of the dead were Rohingya Muslims who were among those herded into relocation camps more than a decade ago, he said.
“The main reason the Rohingyas are dying in large numbers during the cyclone is that they have to live in a small area with a large population,” he said. “The majority of Rohingya deaths are due to lack of freedom of movement and unfair restrictions on their rights.”
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