India

Death toll in cyclonic storm rises to 50 in northeastern India

New Delhi (dpa) - The death toll in Tuesday's cyclonic storm which hit the northeastern Indian state of Assam has risen to 50, it was reported Thursday.

The United News of India reported that the storm moved at a speed of 100 kilometres per hour and left 1,500 people injured and 6,000 homeless.

Unofficial reports said the death toll was as high as 100 people. More than 300 of the injured were reported to be in serious condition.

The cyclone uprooted thousands of trees and tossed people 30 metres in the air.

Most of the victims were crushed under the uprooted trees and collapsed houses or hit by flying corrugated iron sheets and tossed in the air.

Some 31 bodies have been recovered from the worst-hit Dhubri district, particularly from the Mancachar area bordering Bangladesh.

The storm kept the entire area out of reach until late Wednesday. The wide swath of the devastation became clear only late in the day as all communication links to the affected areas was cut off.

Authorities have opened five relief camps for the homeless. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said the federal government would provide financial assistance to the state to deal with the aftermath of the cyclone.

"'We are ready to give all sorts of help to the state to deal with the situation,'' he told deputies in parliament.

He said the cyclone was quite severe and the situation was disturbing. dpa mvb pw

AP-NY-04-24-03 0553EDT

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