Page last updated at 21:18 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 22:18 UK

At least 100 killed in India-Bangladesh storm


Strong winds destroyed thousands of homes and left a trail of destruction

At least 100 people have died in a powerful storm that hit areas on the border between India and Bangladesh.

Many more are injured or trapped in rubble as about 50,000 houses were hit by winds of up to 160 km/h (100mph).

Medical and food supplies have been rushed to the area after the cyclone struck overnight on Tuesday.

North-eastern areas of West Bengal and Bihar states and the Bangladeshi state of Rangpur were worst-hit, said officials.

It is the most violent storm in this area since Cyclone Aila hit eastern India and Bangladesh in May last year, killing more than 150 people.

West Bengal's Uttar Dinajpur district was struck badly, with nearly 40 dead.

A storm leaves fallen trees and debris
Many were killed by falling trees or debris

Much of the district is without power because electricity poles collapsed after trees uprooted by the storm fell on them.

The BBC's Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta says the death toll is expected to rise as more bodies are found in collapsed houses and other debris.

Our correspondent says that the storm was followed by heavy rains that further added to the woes of villagers.

'Trail of destruction'

The deadly winds ravaged tin, concrete and mud houses and brought down trees.

"The storm has left a trail of destruction everywhere," West Bengal's civil defence minister Srikumar Mukherji told local television in the North Dinajpur district.

Mr Mukherji is personally overseeing relief operations.

Telecommunication links have been hit hard, with railway lines damaged and roads closed in West Bengal and the neighbouring state of Bihar.

Survivor Abhijit Karmokar told local television that many had been killed or injured by flying debris.


"Some of these tin roofs just sliced through people... it was total darkness... we stood no chance," he said.

Indian authorities say emergency supplies have been rushed to the area and temporary shelters have been set up for those who had lost their homes.

Officials say that the storm was an extreme form of what is locally known as a "nor'wester" - a weather pattern that develops over the Bay of Bengal during the hot months of the year.

The latest storm comes as nine of India's 29 states endure a heatwave which has taken temperatures above 40C in many northern areas.

The Press Trust of India reported that the number of heat-related deaths since the beginning of this month has risen to 42 in the eastern state of Orissa, with another five people dying on Tuesday.

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France24 INDIA: Storm in West Bengal leaves 116 dead, 100,000 homes destroyed - 13 hrs ago
Melbourne Age Storm kills 116 in India and Bangladesh - 13 hrs ago
ABC Online Deadly storm claims 100,000 homes in India, Bangladesh - 14 hrs ago Storm kills 116, razes 100,000 homes in India, Bangladesh - 14 hrs ago Bangladesh storm kills 116 - 15 hrs ago

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