Google to help Burma cyclone victims

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Google has launched a donation programme designed to help victims of the devastating cyclone in Burma..

The company will add a 'donation' feature to Google Checkout allowing users to give money to the relief effort through Unicef or Direct Relief International. Google has promised to match user donations up to US$1 million.

The cyclone hit the southeast Asian country more than a week ago. The unofficial death toll stands at roughly 28,000 with another 33,000 missing.

Some aid agencies believe that the death toll is already in the region of 100,000, however, and that a lack of clean water and sanitation could push the figure to 1.5 million.

The situation is further complicated by Burma's military junta, which has been at odds with much of the international community and has been accused of stopping aid workers entering the country.

"Over the past few days, we have followed the devastation left in the wake of Cyclone Nargis in [Burma]," said Google programme manager Josh Mendelsohn.

"We are extremely saddened by the loss of life due to this cyclone, and hope that you will assist with the relief effort."

Google is not the only big name in the technology world to promise help in the relief effort. Microsoft founder Bill Gates has pledged at least $3m to the relief effort through the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation.
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