Tornado kills 20 people in Bangladesh

DHAKA Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:22am EDT

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DHAKA (Reuters) - A tornado swept through nearly two dozen villages southeast of the Bangladeshi capital, killing at least 20 people, tearing roofs off houses and uprooting trees and power pylons, officials said.

The death toll could rise sharply as more than 300 people were injured when the twister struck Brahmanbaria district, more than 100 km (60 miles) southeast of Dhaka, on Friday evening.

More than 500 dwellings suffered damage. Rescue teams were dispatched to the area, but uprooted trees and wrecked vehicles closed large stretches of highway and rail lines.

Among the damaged buildings was Brahmanbaria jail, which partially collapsed, killing a guard. But officials said all inmates remained inside the facility and were safe.

"It destroyed everything I had. Nothing is left," Mohammad Nizam, a village resident, told Reuters. "We found ourselves rolling in the mud within minutes."

(Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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