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|March 25, 1998||
175 die in Bengal cyclone, thousands homeless
The death toll in the cyclone that ravaged the coastal Midnapore district in Bengal and neighbouring Orissa on Tuesday has risen to 175.
Officials said 145 bodies have been recovered so far.
Over 3,000 people have been injured in the disaster. Hundreds of cattle perished in the cyclone with a wind speed of 200 km per hour. Datanone and Egra blocks in Midnapore were the most affected by the calamity.
The injured have been admitted to hospitals in Kharagpur and Egra, while some have been shifted to Calcutta.
Nearly 9,000 houses have been razed to the ground, leaving thousands of people homeless.
The state government has sanctioned Rs 10 million for the victims.
Even as an angry mob gheraoed a local block development officer in the affected area, relief and rescue work was undertaken on a war footing. Medical teams have been rushed to the area and hundreds of paramedical staff deployed to take care of the victims.
The Alipore meteorological office said the inclement weather was caused by a trough of low pressure that extended from Madhya Pradesh to coastal Bengal across Orissa.
A United News of India correspondent, who visited the affected areas in Orissa, saw three villages under the Laxmannath gram panchayat completely flattened by the cyclone which hit the area at about 1540 hours on Tuesday.
Fifteen school children were buried alive when the concrete roof of the Goberghat school building collapsed under the impact of the storm. The children had taken shelter there following heavy rains. Several other children were rescued from the debris and admitted to the nearby hospital in a critical condition.
Ten workers of Basudevpur working in a brick kiln in Sijuasaratha village were also killed as the brick mound caved-in under the impact of the cyclone.
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