Hurricane SIDR kills more than 330, injures thousands in Banglades

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Dhaka, Nov 16 (UNI) At least 330 people were killed and thousands injured as a powerful cyclone lashed south and southwestern regions of Bangladesh overnight.

Rescuers and private TV channels said the casualty figure will go up further with the news of death and destruction coming from many remote islands that remained cut-off till this afternoon.

The terrible tropical storm code-named SIDR with a core of hurricane winds, packing a speed of up to 240 kmph, crossed through Barisal-Khulna belt from the Bay early today, flattening thousands of houses, uprooting trees, snapping telephone and power lines.

Preliminary reports reaching from coastal districts said more than 100 people were killed and 300 missing in worst hit Bagerhat district, 57 killed in Barguna, 61 in Patuakhali, 21 in Barisal, 18 each in Madaripur and Gopalganj, 13 in Shariatpur and 11 each in Khulna, Pirojpur and Bhola.

In Bagerhat, the fate of more than 5,000 people mostly fishermen in remote island of Dublarchar could not be known as local administration failed to contact them. A team of coastguard from Mongla seaport set out for the offshore island in the morning.

The deaths were mostly caused by blown down trees and house collapses. Low-lying areas of many coastal districts, even in towns, were inundated as storm surge whipped by raging winds.

Sundarbans forest official Shohidulla said a colossal damage was done to the Sundabans mangrove forest by the ''first hit'' by the powerful cyclone. ''Our offices were damaged, boats capsized or washed away,'' he said.

UNI

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