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Thursday, 14 November, 2002, 18:25 GMT
Scores missing in Bay of Bengal
Relatives wait for news of the missing at Cox's Bazar
Relatives wait at Cox's Bazar for news of fishermen
Rescuers are searching for Indian and Bangladeshi fishermen missing after a deadly cyclone lashed coastal waters.

Many people on small boats and trawlers are unaccounted for - but authorities say they hope many have taken shelter and will soon make contact.

Map showing Bangladesh and West Bengal

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya said on Thursday that 49 fishermen had died and 111 were still missing.

Azimuzzaman Chowdhury, an administrator in Cox's Bazar, said: "The fate of the missing people is still unknown. The search for them will continue."


We didn't think the storm would get us, so we decided to stay out

Fisherman Mohammad Iqbal

Mr Bhattacharya said seven trawlers from West Bengal were still missing.

Two sunken trawlers had been located about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the coast, but rescuers say the chances of finding survivors are slim.

An Indian Coast Guard hovercraft and helicopters are expected to be deployed in the search once the weather permits.

Warnings ignored

Winds of up to 70 km/h (45 mph) lashed the area as the storm picked up power in the Bay of Bengal two days ago.

Waves swamped coastal districts and damaged rice crops. River levels are now reported to be dangerously high.

Some of the fishermen caught in the cyclone admitted they ignored warnings.

One survivor in Cox's Bazar, Mohammad Iqbal, 25, said: "We didn't think the storm would get us, so we decided to stay out."

Bangladesh's worst cyclone in recent years was in 1991 when at least 138,000 people were killed.

In 1999, at least 10,000 people were killed in the Indian state of Orissa when a cyclone hit its coast.

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The BBC's Adam Mynott
"Dozens of fishing boats were capsized"
See also:

13 Nov 02 | South Asia
18 Sep 00 | Science/Nature
12 Sep 02 | South Asia
10 Aug 01 | South Asia
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