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Last Updated: Friday, 25 April, 2003, 08:35 GMT 09:35 UK
Assam storm deaths rise
Injured villagers gather at a makeshift relief camp in Dhubri
The injured are in makeshift camps

At least 48 people have been killed and nearly 300 injured in a storm in the Indian state of Assam.

Another 30 people are still missing after the storm swept through the western district of Dhubri just before midnight (1830 GMT) on Tuesday.

Rescue workers are still looking for victims who may be trapped under rubble and at least 10,000 people are homeless.

Indian officials say they were not prepared for such a disaster and have admitted that relief and rescue operations have been slow.

Officials say the death toll could rise.

'Trail of devastation'

The village of Kalapani on the border with Bangladesh is said to be the worst hit.

The walls collapsed - killing my 12 year-old daughter in front of our eyes
Aziur Rahman

The storm brought down hundreds of mud and thatch houses there, uprooted thousands of trees and electricity poles and swept tin roofs from many government buildings.

"The storm raged for more than an hour and left a trail of devastation," police superintendent Nitin Gogoi was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

The Indian meteorological service has warned of more thunderstorms with high winds in the coming days.

Nazim Alam Mula, whose parents were among the people killed by the storm, sits in front of destroyed houses
Some children have been orphaned by the storm
Officials say most of the victims died after their houses collapsed but some were electrocuted by live wires dangling after the poles had been uprooted.

Many of the people who are still missing are children.

Another badly-hit village in the district - between Bangladesh and Bhutan - is Biliabil.

"The winds blew away my roof. The walls collapsed in seconds, killing my 12-year-old daughter in front of our eyes," villager Aziur Rahman told Reuters news agency.

Neighbouring Bangladesh has been hit by storms for the past several days.

At least 140 people died in two ferry disasters there earlier this week.

Over 100 dead as ferries capsize
22 Apr 03  |  South Asia
Heavy storm hits Bengal
13 Mar 03  |  South Asia
India rejects climate change pressure
30 Oct 02  |  South Asia

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