Relief Groups Scramble to Aid Myanmar

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(CNN) -- The United Nations and international relief organizations are scrambling to aid Myanmar, saying Friday's cyclone was the worst disaster the country had suffered in years. Myanmar officials expect the death toll to top 15,000.

The country has "massive, massive" needs, UNICEF spokesman Patrick McCormick told CNN. "I think it's the biggest disaster to hit this country in recent memory."

"The destruction is unbelievable," Dr. Kyi Minn of the Christian relief organization World Vision said from Yangon. "Elderly people are saying this is the worst storm they have ever seen."

The ruling military junta in Myanmar -- traditionally known as Burma -- made a rare appeal for humanitarian aid as it continues plans to hold a referendum Saturday on a draft constitution.

"There really has not been any help," said Maureen Aung-Thwin, director of the Burma Project and the Southeast Asia initiative at the Open Society Institute in New York. "The government has taken a great step for international assistance."

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