[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Deaths in Bay of Bengal cyclone
Thousands left homeless as storm sweeps over parts of India and Bangladesh.
Last Modified: 25 May 2009 20:33 GMT

Bangladesh evacuated nearly half a million people to emergency shelters on the southwest coast [AFP]
 

At least 17 people have been killed after a cyclone hit coastal areas of eastern India and Bangladesh, triggering widespread floods.

Thousands of people in the Indian state of West Bengal were left homeless after rivers burst their banks amid heavy rain on Monday.

"The situation is very grave, countless families have been displaced, especially in the Sundarbans," Kanti Ganguly, the state minister for the Sundarbans region of West Bengal, said.

At least 10 people died in West Bengal as houses collapsed and trees were felled by the storm, officials said.

Heavy rains caused flooding across Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, as winds of up to 100kph brought down trees and communication lines.

"Our village is submerged, we are living in camps and have no clue what further calamity awaits us," Anil Krishna Mistry, a villager, told Reuters by telephone from Bali in the Sundarbans.

Bangladesh hit

In Bangladesh, at least seven people were killed and thousands of homes were damaged by tidal waves triggered by the cyclone, officials said.

Most of the storm surges occurred in the Khulna district near the Sundarbans and the Bay of Bengal.

"Thousands of families have been moved to shelters and many left on their own," Salahuddin Chowdhury, an official of the Cyclone Preparedness Centre in Chittagong, said.

The ports of Chittagong and Mongla were closed as the storm approached.

Cyclones and tropical storms are common in Bangladesh, killing many people in the delta nation of 150 million every year and causing huge damage to crops and property.

Cyclone Sidr swept parts of the Bangladesh coast in November 2007, killing about 3,500 people. A cyclone also killed about 140,000 people in April 1991.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.