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At least 251 killed in cyclone in Bangladesh
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At least 251 people were killed and thousands of others injured in Bangladesh as a powerful cyclone has lashed the country's south and southwestern regions since Thursday evening.


Preliminary reports from coastal districts said Friday at least 57 people were killed in Barguna, 61 people in Patuakhali, 30 in Bagerhat, 21 in Barisal, 18 each in Madaripur and Gopalganj, 13 in Shariatpur and 11 each in Khulna, Pirojpur and Bhola.


In Bagerhat, the fate of more than 5,000 people, mostly fishermen, in remote island of Dublarchar could not be known as local administration failed to contact with them. A team of the coastguard from Mongla seaport set out for the offshore island in the morning.


The deaths mostly were caused by blown down trees and house collapses. Low-lying areas of many coastal districts, even in towns, were inundated.


Sundarbans forest official Shohidulla told Xinhua over telephone a colossal damage was done to the Sundabans mangrove forest, the biggest mangrove forest in the world.


"Our offices were damaged, boats capsized or washed away," he said.


The terrible tropical storm code-named SIDR with a speed up to 240 kph crossed through the southern Barisal-Khulna belt from the Bay of Bengal early Friday, flattening thousands of houses, uprooting trees, snapping telephone and power lines.


Capital Dhaka is also affected by the cyclone. There was heavy rain on Thursday and early Friday. The electricity in the city has been disconnected since Thursday midnight. Witnesses said in western residential area of the city some tin-houses collapsed, but no casualties has been reported.


(Xinhua News Agency November 16, 2007)

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