Cyclone death toll rises to 1,100

The death toll from cyclone Sidr which hit Bangladesh’s coast with winds of 150 mph has risen to at least 1,100.

The death toll from cyclone Sidr which hit Bangladesh’s coast with winds of 150 mph has risen to at least 1,100.

Sidr levelled thousands of flimsy huts, uprooted trees, electricity and telephone poles, and destroyed crops and fish farms in 15 coastal districts.

Relief workers struggled today to get food and medicine to hundreds of thousands of survivors.

About a dozen teams have been deployed to conduct relief operations in the worst-hit areas in the country’s south-west, but they are being hampered by power and phone failures in many areas.

Aid workers struggled through washed-out roads and areas blocked by debris to reach people stranded by the floodwaters.

In Sharankhola village in Bagerhat district, one of the hardest hit areas, close to the Bay of Bengal, some villagers waited for hours to get some dry biscuits and rice.

Sidr hit the country’s south-west coast late last night with wind, driving rain and high waves.

It also spawned a four foot water surge that swept through low-lying areas and some offshore islands, leaving them under water.

Volunteers from international aid agencies including the UN World Food Program, Save the Children and the Christian aid group World Vision have joined the relief effort.

The WFP has begun distributing high-energy biscuits in devastated villages and in shelters.

Save the Children said their volunteers were helping to evacuate people across the battered region.

World Vision is putting together seven-day packages for families that will include rice, oil, sugar, salt, candles and blankets.

Power and communications in the capital Dakar also remained down tonight.

At least 650,000 coastal villagers yesterday fled to cyclone shelters where they were given emergency rations.

However by tonight operations had resumed at the country’s two main seaports - Chittagong and Mongla, as well Chittagong and Dakar airports, authorities said.

The storm missed India’s eastern coast, where the weather was calm. India’s Met Office had forecast heavy rain and flooding.

Bangladesh, a low-lying delta nation, is prone to seasonal cyclones and floods that cause huge losses of life and property.

The coastal area borders eastern India and is famous for the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans, a world heritage site that is home to rare Royal Bengal Tigers.

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