Typhoon Sidr hits Bangladesh:
1,723 Dead in Bangladesh Cyclone: PARVEEN AHMED: The official death toll from a savage cyclone that wreaked havoc on southwest Bangladesh reached 1,723 Saturday — the deadliest storm to hit the country in a decade. Military helicopters and ships joined rescue and relief operations and aid workers on the ground struggled to reach victims. Tropical Cyclone Sidr tore apart villages, severely disrupted power lines and forced more than a million coastal villagers to evacuate to government shelters.
The latest death figure tallied to 1,723, with 474 deaths reported from worst-hit Barguna district and 385 from neighboring Patuakhali, a military spokesman, Lt. Col. Moyeenullah Chowdhury, told reporters in the capital, Dhaka. Rescuers battled along roads that were washed out or blocked by wind-blown debris to try to get water and food to people stranded by flooding. Some employed the brute force of elephants to help in their efforts. "We sent a relief team in a jeep, but they had to return halfway as the roads and channels were unpassable," M. Shakil Anwar of CARE Bangladesh said by telephone from nearby Khulna city. The roads were strewn with fallen trees and covered in muddy sludge, Anwar said. Small ferries — which are the only means of transport across the numerous river channels that crisscross the area — were flung ashore by the force of cyclone winds. "We will try again tomorrow on bicycles, and hire local country boats," Anwar said. He added that they planned to distribute dry foods and other emergency rations among 500 families of the area.
On Saturday, the army deployed helicopters to deliver supplies to the remotest areas, while navy ships delivered supplies and dispensed medical assistance to migrant fishing communities living on and around hundreds of tiny islands, or shoals, along the coast...