January 27, 2008 / 8:43 AM / 10 years ago

Bangladesh cyclone survivors struggle with cold,rain

DHAKA, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of people living in tents since a cyclone devastated the southern Bangladesh coast in November are now battling cold and rain, local officials and residents said on Sunday.

No deaths had yet been reported from the cold snap, but the number of people lining up at health centres with ailments is rising in the worst-affected Bagerhat and Swarankhola districts, following four days of low temperatures and rain.

"The pain is no less now than what we went thorough in the aftermath of cyclone," said Delwar Munshi of Bagerhat over telephone.

"Most of us were living in the shelters made of polythene and plastic sheets, but that too have gone now with the rain and wind," he added.

Cyclone Sidr, the worst in Bangladesh since 1991, struck on November 15 with winds of 250 kph (155 mph) and a five-metre sea surge, killing more than 3,300 people.

Nearly half a million people are estimated to be living in temporary shelters such as tents made of polythene.

"We don’t really know where to go. Many of us are now living virtually under the open sky," said Ismail Hossain, a villager in Swarankhola.

Officials said they were sending new polythene sheets to the affected areas.

The storm in November also washed away around 1 million tons of rice, caused serious damage to Sundarbans, a World Heritage site and the home of Royal Bengal Tigers.

The lowest temperature recorded so far is 12 degree Celsius but it may drop to seven degrees in the days ahead, an official said.

(Reporting by Azad Majumder; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

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