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Friday, 5 January, 2001, 14:22 GMT
Cold snap hits South Asia
Trying to keep warm in Delhi
Trying to keep warm in Delhi
By the South Asia Regional Unit's Alastair Lawson

Unusually cold weather, fog and heavy rain have hit parts of India and Bangladesh.

More than 30 people have been killed and dense fog has caused disruption to air and land traffic.

In some areas of South Asia there have also been heavy snowfall and icy winds.

As is common at this time of the year, parts of South Asia are experiencing a period of bad weather.

Deaths

The cold snap has hit hardest in northern India and Bangladesh.

Fog has caused disruption to traffic
Fog has caused disruption to traffic
Reports from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh say that 27 people have been killed.

At least eight villagers were reported to have died in areas of Bangladesh close to the foothills of the Himalayas, where the temperature plummeted to as low as 5C (41F).

Weather experts say the reason for the deaths is because many people in the north of India and Bangladesh are ill-prepared for sudden periods of cold weather, and lack adequate shelter.

They point out that most of the casualties either lived in shanty towns or were homeless - they were more used to living in far warmer climates.

Regional outlook

Sri Lanka has also been recently hit by bad weather.

At the end of last month the government said that around half a milllion people were made homeless or were temporarily displaced because of a cyclone that hit the east of the country.

However the bad weather seems to have avoided Pakistan and Nepal.

The city of Quetta in Pakistan's Balochistan province is usually one of the coldest places in the country at this time of the year, but so far there have been no casualties.

Pakistani officials say that is partly because fewer people sleep out in the open in comparison to Indian states such as Uttar Pradesh.

In Nepal - which has deep layers of snow in hillier areas of the country - there have also not been any casualties.

Officials say that maybe because the people of the kingdom are better prepared for the onset of cold weather.

They point out that temperatures in Nepal have been gradually rising throughout recent winters.

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See also:

28 Dec 00 | South Asia
Southern India cyclone fizzles out
06 Jan 00 | South Asia
India cold snap kills hundreds
04 Jan 00 | South Asia
India hit by cold snap
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