According to Burma’s state-controlled media, more than twenty-thousand people were killed and over forty-thousand others are still missing days after Cyclone Nargis tore through the Irrawaddy river delta region. Thousands of Burmese lack food, shelter, and clean water. President George Bush expressed "heartfelt sympathy to the people of Burma":
"The United States has made an initial aid contribution, but we want to do a lot more. We’re prepared to move U.S. Navy assets to help find those who’ve lost their lives, to help find the missing, to help stabilize the situation. But in order to do so, the military junta must allow our disaster assessment teams into the country."
President Bush had this message for Burma’s rulers:
"Let the United States come to help you, help the people. Our hearts go out to the people of Burma. We want to help them deal with this terrible disaster."
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the U.S. is ready to help and is already sending disaster assistance and would like to do more:
"While there may be differences with the regime, this is a humanitarian issue. Clearly, there is a substantial humanitarian need here. You have thousands and thousands of people who have been killed by this; many times more than that ... have been affected by it [the cyclone]. So there’s a great need and we’re ready to help along with the rest of the international system."