25 dead, hundreds missing in Bangladesh cyclone

News and Press Release
Originally published
Dhaka (dpa) - A tropical cyclone whipping up high waves in the Bay of Bengal battered southern Bangladesh at the weekend with winds topping 150 kilometres per hour which forced tens of thousands on the coastal belt to abandon their homes.

Rescue workers said Sunday the storms and tidal flooding left at least 25 people dead and more than 500 injured in towns and villages across the fragile coast.

Government officials said hundreds of coastal residents remained missing in Saturday's cyclone - the latest natural disaster to strike the impoverished South Asian country.

The missing include about 100 fishermen who were at sea apparently ignoring storm warnings, said a spokesman for the fishermen's association in southern Patuakhali district.

The cyclone uprooted trees, destroyed rice fields and devastated roads as it crossed over the Sunderban mangrove forest and the southern Mongla port.

The cyclone, which had been brewing in the Bay of Bengal as a depression since Friday, cut a deep swathe of destruction in a country still reeling from floods which displaced five million people less than a month ago.

Rescue workers said five people were killed and 12 others injured after their house collapsed in Barguna district, one of the worst-hit regions.

Four people were reported killed in Barisal district and three in Lakkhipur on the coast. Other storm casualties occurred in four other coastal districts.

Five people died in torrential rains which struck the capital Dhaka on Saturday, flooding roads and homes and disrupting power supply and telephone links.

A broadcasting station of the state-run radio went off the air after it was hit by the strong winds.

Thousands of people were evacuated from mudflat villages and moved to cyclone shelters as storms brought heavy rains. Tidal floods caused by high waves of water inundated the offshore islands of Kukri Mukri and Char Nizam.

Life in the south's main Khulna city was disrupted as torrents of water hit 12 districts, causing local rivers to overflow. The coastal city located some 300 kilometres south of Dhaka recorded over 119 mm of rainfall in less than 24 hours.

dpa af vc

Copyright (c) 2000 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 10/29/2000 02:27:09

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