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Bangladesh cyclone reportedly kills 1,100

A ferocious cyclone ripped across the low-laying water’s edge of southern Bangladesh late Thursday, leaving at least hundreds dead, downed trees, ruined cellphone towers and swept away mud and thatch homes.
The New York Times had reports on the “deadliest such storm in more than a decade? from New Delhi and Dhaka, Bangladesh on their Web site, while The Associated Press reported from the capital, Dhaka, as well.
As of late Thursday, the death toll of Cyclone Sidr, which blasted Bangladesh with 150 mph winds, stood at 667, according to the control room of the Disaster Management Ministry. This toll is expected to rise, with The Associated Press estimating from compiled reports from its correspondents a toll of 1,100, along with some 650,000 people fleeing their homes. Government officials have little up-to-date information, but Dalil Uddin of the Ministry of Disaster Management said the official toll would go “much higher.?
The impact in Bangladesh so far “seemed likely to be relatively low,? according to the New York Times, compared with past tropical storms like the one in 1991 that claimed about 140,000 lives. The event spurred Bangladeshi relief agencies to develop early warning systems and storm shelters to prevent disasters, and the BBC said casualties from cyclones “have been significantly reduced as a result,? according to officials.
Preliminary reports from the delta regions of the Bay of Bengal suggest that high-rising rivers washed away paddy fields and vegetable fields, wrecking the year’s earnings for the peasants who live off those lands.
Even Dhaka, the crowded capital of the “poor, desperately crowded nation of 150 million people,? though about 150 miles from the Bay of Bengal and not directly in the path of the storm, was affected. The entire country was darkened for several hours overnight after electricity towers were downed, and much of Dhaka remained without power for most of the day Friday, which also restricted the water supply.
The New York Times: “Relief and rehabilitation efforts stand to be a crucial test for the army-backed caretaker government currently in charge of Bangladesh.?
The New York Times said that the United Nations Development Program wants world leaders to address human-induced climate change. Thursday’s cyclone was just the latest case in their argue of an increased frequency of droughts, floods and storms that hit the world’s poorest the hardest in places like Bangladesh.
The BBC also has a link on this article’s page to an interesting video showing efforts to distribute food aid amid the destruction of the cyclone.
The New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/17/world/asia/17bangladesh.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
BBC:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7097678.stm
The Associated Press:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12784349/