M A I N   N E W S

1100 feared dead as ‘Sidr’ unleashes fury

Dhaka, November 16
Over 1100 persons were feared dead, while thousands were injured, as a powerful cyclone lashed the country’s south and south-western regions.

Rescuers and survivors feared the death toll would climb up further, but failed to get information from remote and inaccessible islands, which remained cut off till this evening.

Sources from the Food and Disaster Management Ministry confirmed that at least 233 persons had died, but said they could not get any information from several worst-hit districts of Barguna, Pirojpur and Jhalkathi.

The terrible tropical storm code-named ‘Sidr’, with a core of hurricane winds packing a speed of up to 240 kph, crossed through Barisal-Khulna belt from the Bay of Bengal early today, flattening thousands of houses, uprooting trees, snapping telephone and power lines.

Most parts of the country plunged into darkness, following the breakdown in the national power grid.

Local residents and private TV channels said more than 100 persons had died in the worst-hit Bagerhat district, 90 in Patuakhali, 57 in Barguna, 28 in Jhalokathi, 21 in Barisal, 24 in Pirojpur, 18 in Madaripur, 21 in Gopalganj, 20 in Shariatpur and 11 in Khulna and 13 in Bhola.

In Bagerhat, the fate of more than 5,000 persons, mostly fishermen in the remote island of Dublarchar, could not be known as the local administration failed to contact them. A team of the coastguard from Mongla seaport had set out for the offshore island.

Sundarbans forest official Shohidulla said a colossal damage was done to the mangrove forest by the “first hit” by the hurricane core of the powerful cyclone.

Chief Advisor of interim government Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed and Army chief General Moeen U Ahmed visited the coastal districts by helicopter and ordered the local administration to gear up relief operations. 




Coast Guard conducts rescue operation

PORT BLAIR: The Indian Coast Guard today conducted a massive maritime multi-agency search and rescue exercise (SAREX-07) in the Andaman Sea to test its operational plans, while responding to an emergency, involving a passenger ship.

Director general of the Coast Guard, Vice-Admiral, R.F. Contractor, was present on board CGS Varuna to witness the rescue operation. During the drill, all rescue agencies that are part of the Coast Guard-led National Maritime SAR Coordinating Authority (NMSARCA) ‘responded to the hypothetical emergency scenario’.

The exercise was a test for the preparedness of the national and local authorities and other emergency services for dealing with a SAR operation under the guidelines mandated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). — UNI



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