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34 fishermen feared dead, 560 missing in Bay of Bengal

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Dhaka (dpa) - At least 34 fishermen were feared dead and 560 were reported missing in the Bay of Bengal after a cyclone ripped through the region on Wednesday.

In the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, at least 34 fishermen were presumed dead after their trawlers capsized in the Bay of Bengal after the cyclone hit on Tuesday, the United News of India (UNI) reported.

West Bengal's Fisheries Department Minister Kiranmoy Nanda said nine trawlers sank off the Digha coast during the storm, and only 66 fishermen were rescued.

About 39 Indian trawlers with 390 fishermen and crew on board were reported missing on Wednesday.

In neighbouring Bangladesh, at least Bangladeshi 170 fishermen were missing after the cyclone lashed its southern coast destroying fishing villages, rice farms, while halting life in the capital Dhaka.

A spokesman from the Ministry of Disaster Management said howling winds swirling up to 85 kilometres per hour hit the coast early Wednesday smashing bamboo huts, uprooting trees and disrupting road travel in villages and towns along the Bay of Bengal coast.

Dhaka was inundated with heavy rains that flooded city streets, shutting down electrical power and forcing public transport to cease operations.

The Bangladeshi fishermen belonged to 12 trawlers that ventured into high seas apparently ignoring cyclone warnings from the weather office.

The cyclone dumped heavy rain flooding coastal districts and wiping out winter rice and vegetable crops.

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