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Cyclone leaves millions stranded in Bangladesh

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre By late Friday, 24 hours after the cyclone roared ashore, officials were still trying to get reports from many districts. Dhaka, the capital city of this poor, desperately crowded nation of 150 million people, remained without power. Winds uprooted trees and sent billboards flying through the air, said Ashraful Zaman, an official at the main emergency control room. A government announcement put the death toll at 242, but Dalil Uddin of the Ministry of Disaster Management expected the official toll to go much higher. The United News of Bangladesh news agency, which has reporters deployed across the devastated region, said the count from each affected district left an overall death toll of at least 1,100. Holmes said his U.N. agency believes that more than 20,000 houses have been damaged in the hardest-hit districts and that the death toll is expected to climb beyond the government’s figures. About 150 fishing trawlers were unaccounted for, he said. Hasanul Amin, assistant director of the cyclone preparedness program sponsored by the government and the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, said about a dozen teams had been deployed to the worst-hit areas in the country’s southwest. But it was slow going. In the village of Sharankhola, some people waited for hours to get dry biscuits and rice, according to Bishnu Prasad, a United News of Bangladesh reporter on the scene. “We have lost everything,” a farmer, Moshararf Hossain, told Prasad. “We have nowhere to go.” The cyclone swept in from the Bay of Bengal and roared across the southwestern coast late Thursday with driving rain and high waves, leveling thousands of flimsy huts and destroying crops and fish farms in 15 coastal districts, officials and witnesses said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! DHAKA, Bangladesh – Aid workers struggled Friday to help survivors of Tropical Cyclone Sidr, which blasted Bangladesh with 150 mph winds, killing a reported 1,100 people, savaging coastal towns and leaving millions without power in the deadliest such storm in more than a decade. Rescuers – some even employing the brute force of elephants – contended with roads that were washed out or blocked by wind-blown debris to try to get water and food to people stranded by flooding. The damage to livelihood, housing and crops from Sidr will be “extremely severe,” said John Holmes, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, adding that the world body was making millions of dollars in aid available to Bangladesh. The winds wreaked havoc on the country’s electricity and telephone lines, affecting even areas that were spared a direct hit, and leaving the full picture of the death and destruction unclear. last_img read more