Over 425 feared dead as Cyclone Sidr hits Bangladesh

November 16th, 2007 - 9:04 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, Nov 16 (ANI): Over 425 people were feared dead and thousands others injured in Bangladesh, as the powerful cyclone Sidr lashed the country’s south and south-western regions of the country last night.
“The hurricane crossed the coast at 3:00am early today (Friday) and was now lying over the southern and central parts of Bangladesh as a land depression this morning,” the Daily Star quoted a latest meteorological office bulletin, as saying.
The death toll can rise and the extent of the damage is still unclear, Nahid Sultana, an official from Bangladesh’s Ministry of Relief and Disaster Management was quoted as saying by the BBC.
“We have mounted a search by civilians, army and police, and the casualty figures will rise,” an official in Barisal, one of the worst hit districts, was quoted, as saying.
Hundreds of thousands of people living in coastal areas were evacuated in the last two days.
The worst affect of the Cyclone Sidr was felt on Bangladesh’s southern coastal strip. At least three villages on the south coast were flattened by the storm.
The storm was weakening early Friday as it passed through Dhaka.
With the worst of the storm thought to be over, attention now turns to assessing the damage and distributing aid, the report said.
Bangladesh’s Home Ministry said several districts could still not be contacted as telephones and communications were cut and reports of casualties were confused.
Gusty winds uprooted trees and roadside billboards and broke electric cables.
According to Bangladeshi television over 100 fishing boats in the Bay of Bengal had reportedly failed to return to shore despite storm warnings.
With a wind speed of up to 240 kph, the cyclone had roared in from the Bay of Bengal just before dusk on Thursday.
Tidal surges 15-20 feet above normal tide inundated several low-lying areas.
Instructions have been issued to Zia International Airport to operate flights with caution. Operations were suspended at Chittagong Port and Shah Amanat International Airport.
Port authorities have stopped plying of all types of vessels, including launch and ferry, on several routes.
The cyclone was also expected to affect eastern India and the west coast of Burma.
Over 40,000 policemen, soldiers, coastguards and health workers have been deployed along the coast.
Thousands of people are taking shelter in state-built cyclone shelters. Authorities said they had sent food, medicine, tents and blankets to the affected areas.
Southern Bangladesh is often hit by cyclones, but experts say the latest is a category four storm, the most powerful so far in the season. (ANI)

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