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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 July, 2003, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Fears grow for Bangladesh fishermen

Monsoons in Bangladesh
The monsoon wreaked havoc in southern Bangladesh
At least 175 fishermen are missing after storms off the coast of Bangladesh, while 300 houses were destroyed in an earthquake which rocked the Chittagong region.

At least 20 trawlers sank in the Bay of Bengal storms, according to officials, who confirmed one capsizing killed six people.

Fazlur Rahman, police chief of the southern Borguna district, said authorities were working to verify how many fishermen were dead, adding that such incidents were commonplace during the monsoon season.

"Seven bodies have been retrieved from the rough seas by boats which managed to return to the shore, but more than 200 crew on board nearly 60 boats are still missing," one police officer said.

Eight fishing trawlers were lost late on Saturday with 96 fishermen on board, officials of the Kalapara Fishing Trawlers Co-operative Society said.

Borguna, Bangladesh
They feared the missing men may not have survived a day at sea in such rough conditions.

Weather forecasters had warned fishermen of a medium-level storm in the Bay of Bengal late on Friday.


In the port city of Chittagong and neighbouring districts at least 20 people were injured when an earthquake measuring 5.09 on the Richter scale struck at 0519 on Sunday (2319 GMT Saturday).

The quake lasted 20 seconds and brought down about 300 mud-and-straw buildings in Rangamati, destroying a rural health clinic and a primary school.

The weather office reported two aftershocks in Chittagong, 216 kilometres (135 miles) south of the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka.

In 1997, a 5.74-magnitude quake that hit Chittagong killed 22 people when a building collapsed on them.

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