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Burmese Islands Lie Close to Worst Tsunami Zone - 2004-12-31


Details of the tsunami's effect on Burma are largely unknown. Reports from inside and outside the military-ruled country Friday give conflicting accounts of damage on Burma's Coco islands, which are relatively close to the epicenter of last Sunday's earthquake in the Indian Ocean.

The Democratic Voice of Burma, an exile media group, quotes a Burmese navy officer as saying several military installations were destroyed on the Cocos, a small island group.

Burma's Indian Ocean islands lie just north of India's Andaman and Nicobar islands, which were devastated by the original earthquake, its strong aftershocks and concurrent tsunami waves.

State-run media in Burma, however, claim the island group escaped damage this week.

Burma's military government rarely provides details of man-made or natural disasters.

Separate reports from Rangoon say thousands of people fled their homes Thursday following a false alarm that another tsunami was about to inundate Burma's capital region. Authorities in Rangoon blamed the panic on an erroneous warning first broadcast in India.

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