Cyclone Aila leaves hundreds dead

Hundreds of thousands displaced after storm hits eastern India and Bangladesh.

    Hundreds of thousands across eastern India and Bangladesh have been displaced by the cyclone [AFP]

    'Millions affected'

    Officials in Bangladesh moved about 500,000 people to temporary shelters after they fled their homes to escape huge tidal waves churned by winds of up to 120kph.

    Officials fear the toll may rise as bodies continue to be recovered [Reuters]
    "Millions of people have been affected by the cyclone, with half a million in shelters and another half a million forced from their homes or were marooned," a disaster control official told the Reuters news agency in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital.

    Heavy rain triggered by the storm also raised river levels and burst mud embankments in the Sundarbans delta in West Bengal.

    The worst affected area in Bangladesh was the Satkhira district, near the port of Mongla, where a local official said 31 bodies were found in one village.

    "The situation here is alarming," Mohammad Abdus Samad, deputy commissioner of Satkhira, told Reuters.

    "The situation here is alarming"

    Mohammad Abdus Samad, deputy commissioner of Satkhira

    Meanwhile, it remained difficult to assess how the storm and flooding had affected the tiger population in the region as water levels were too high for ecologists and forest officials to survey the area, Mrinal Chatterjee, the project director of the Institute of Nature Lovers and Climbers, an environmental group, said.

    Al Jazeera's meteorologist Steff Gaulter, said: "At its peak it was giving sustained winds of around 90kph and gusts of up to 150kph, but it's over land now … and has been for over 24 hours now, so there's not much left to it now except some heavy showers."

    About 250 tigers are estimated to live in the Indian side of the Sundarbans reserve, with another 250 thought to reside in the Bangladeshi side of the conservation area.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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