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Homes damaged as cyclone lashes Bangladesh

A cyclone packing winds of up to 90 kilometres (56 miles) an hour lashed Bangladesh's southeastern coastal area, damaging houses and uprooting trees, officials said on Saturday.

world Updated: Apr 18, 2009 11:46 IST

A cyclone packing winds of up to 90 kilometres (56 miles) an hour lashed Bangladesh's southeastern coastal area, damaging houses and uprooting trees, officials said on Saturday.

Cox's Bazar police chief Motiur Rahman said few casualties were reported after Cyclone Bijli weakened before making landfall late on Friday.

"The cyclone was not very strong. We took precautionary measures and all people living in low-lying areas went to shelters," he said, adding that those evacuated were allowed to return home on Saturday morning.

"Dozens of thatched houses were destroyed in the cyclone and some trees were uprooted." Three people had died, including a 50-year-old man and a month-old baby, both of whom had medical conditions that deteriorated while being moved to the shelters.

"A nine-year-old boy was also killed after a tree fell on his family's corrugated tin-roofed thatched house during the cyclone," Rahman said.

Chittagong district administrative chief Farid Uddin Ahmed, overseeing the emergency response along the 300-kilometre (186-mile) southeastern coast, said rescue workers were still trying to reach remote areas.

"We are still waiting for final reports of damage. Some houses have been hit but overall the damage is minimal because the tide was low which meant the tidal surge was not too severe."

Boats remained at shore on Saturday and fishermen were urged not to sail because seas were still rough. Flights to and from Cox's Bazar and Chittagong were also suspended Friday but airports were expected to reopen later on Saturday.

Bangladesh frequently experiences tropical storms and cyclones during the monsoon season. Bijli is the first for the 2009 rainy season, which is just beginning in the South Asian nation.