Bangladesh

Tidal surge floods Bangladesh coastal villages

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HAKA, May 15 (Reuters) - A tidal surge triggered by a storm in the Bay of Bengal swept through coastal districts of Bangladesh and Myanmar on Tuesday, killing at least one fisherman and damaging hundreds of homes, officials said.

Weather officials said the storm, with winds of up to 80 kph (50 mph), crossed the Bangladesh coast at dawn, heading east towards Myanmar.

Crops and shrimp farms were washed away in the 4-foot (1.2 metre) high surge in the wake of the storm, but it did not cause as much damage as initially feared, the officials said.

Meteorologists in Myanmar, who estimated wind speeds of up to 160 kph (100 mph) and a sea surge of up to three metres (10 feet), said residential areas of Sittwe, a coastal city in the northwest, were under water.

In Bangladesh, the storm and accompanying rain cut off power and uprooted trees, while the tidal surge swamped some roads, a disaster management official said.

One fisherman was confirmed dead and about 100 aboard 20 fishing boats were reported missing, officials in the Bangladeshi coastal district of Cox's Bazar said.

Bangladesh went on cyclone alert on Monday, with officials warning the storm in the Bay of Bengal could trigger a tidal surge two metres high. Nearly 80,000 people were evacuated to cyclone shelters.

Tropical storms and cyclones kill hundreds of Bangladeshis every year. One of the worst cyclones to hit the country killed 138,000 people in 1991.

(Additional reporting by Nizam Ahmed and Nurul Islam in Cox's Bazar and Aung Hla Tun in Yangon)

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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