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Cyclone claims over 1,700 in Bangladesh
November 17, 2007 21:50 IST
Rescue workers joined by military helicopters and ships today struggled to reach survivors of a powerful cyclone that ripped through southwestern Bangladesh killing over 1,700 people, destroying thousands of dwellings and snapping power supply and communication network.
Officials confirmed 1,723 deaths so far due to cyclone Sidr that struck Thursday night and feared that thousands of corpses could be littering its southern coast as many affected areas remained inaccessible.
Information with regard to casualties in many remote and impassable places were not available due to disruption of communication network, officials said, adding thousands of bodies could be found in the next few days.
Rescuers were yet to make their way to a number of remote small 'chars' or offshore islands in Sundarbans mangrove forests and nearby areas, which bore the brunt of the storm, they said.
Military helicopters pressed in the rescue operation delivered supplies and medical assistance to the affected areas.
Television footages showed volunteers dragging out bodies buried under sand and sludge carried by the storm with survivors wailing for their loved ones killed in the calamity.
"My five-year old daughter was screaming 'father don't leave me' as the storm dragged her away from my lap," wailed a mid-aged man as a television crew approached him at a remote area in Patuakhali district.
Rescuers said 500 bodies were recovered in southwestern Barguna, the worst hit area while witnesses said numerous corpses were still floating in channels and stranded waters or were buried under sand, carried by the tidal surges during the storm.