Bangladesh cyclone relief operation in full gear

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Dhaka, Nov 21: A week after a killer cyclone killed nearly 3,500 people on the Bangladesh coast, relief workers today said they had been able to get food, medicine and other provisions to almost all those affected.

A huge relief operation by civil authorities and the army, navy and airforce was at full force after roads blocked by fallen trees has been cleared and electricity and communication lines restored, said an official in Barisal.

The head of Bangladesh's army-backed interim government, Fakhruddin Ahmed, appealed on television last night for all Bangladeshis to join the relief effort.

Cyclone Sidr struck a vast areas of southern Bangladesh last Thursday night with winds of 250 kph and a 5-metre high sea surge, leaving a trail of devastation.

It was the worst disaster in the impoverished country of 140 million since 1991, when a cyclone and storm surge killed around 143,000 people.

Army chief General Moeen U. Ahmed said troops were coordinating relief operations to ensure no further deaths in the cyclone's aftermath.

Five days to reach all areas

It took five days for the rescuers to get access to all affected areas, officials said late yessteray But almost a week after the cyclone, human and animal corpses were still being recovered from rivers, canals and trampled rice fields, reporters visiting the coastal districts said on Wednesday.

Officials said emergency aid was pouring in from all over the the world, with the latest being 250 million dollars offered by the World Bank. It was the single biggest aid offer after the King of Saudi Arabia pledged 100 million dollars on Monday.

''We should have no dearth of resources and goodwill to face the calamity,'' a disaster management official said.

The United States has already sent two C-130 aircrafts to help in the relief operation, while two US naval vessels were on the way to Bangladesh, the US embassy said.

Relief operators in the affected districts, however, said supplies were still inadequate compared to needs.

''Food, clothes and shelter are needed immediately for the survivors who are resilient and are trying to start the life anew,'' said Louis-Georges Arsenault, of the UN children's fund, UNI

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