Deadly Cyclone Strikes Eastern India
By JIM YARDLEY
Published: April 15, 2010
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CloseLinkedinDiggFacebookMixxMySpaceYahoo! BuzzPermalink NEW DELHI — Rescuers spread across eastern India on Thursday, searching for survivors of a deadly storm that killed at least 122 people and left an estimated 100,000 homeless.
With winds estimated at more than 100 miles per hour, the storm hit late Tuesday night, spawning tornadoes and across parts of the Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal. Trees toppled across roads and utility poles were knocked to the ground. News agencies in eastern India reported that thousands of mud huts were flattened by the high winds.
“My family is safe, but all the trees outside my house were torn from their roots,” said Sanjeev Paswan, who lives in Araria, a rural area of Bihar. “It was all dark. I thought it was the end of the world and we were going to die.”
Mr. Paswan said aid workers had reached his area by Thursday and were delivering food and other aid materials, but news agencies quoted other survivors complaining that government aid had not yet arrived.
Officials in Bihar said that at least 81 people were killed there, with the highest number of fatalities in the city of Purnia. Aid workers were delivering rice and tarpaulins so that displaced people could erect temporary shelters. The state announced that people who lost their homes and families of the dead would be eligible for cash compensation.
In West Bengal, where at least 41 people were killed, tornadoes ripped through rural areas where farmers live in tin-roofed mud huts. “It is one of the worst storms in recent times,” said Dibyendu Das, a magistrate in the North Dinajpur area of the state.
Mr. Das said local officials were given no notice of an impending storm from regional meteorological officials. Many rural areas of North Dinajpur remained without electricity or telephone service on Thursday. The Associated Press reported that 50,000 mud huts were destroyed in West Bengal alone.
Saimah Khwaja contributed reporting.
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