Prayers for cyclone-hit Bangladesh

HUNDREDS of members of the Bangladeshi community in Suffolk were praying for friends and loved ones today after a cyclone brought death and destruction to the Indian sub-continent.

HUNDREDS of members of the Bangladeshi community in Suffolk were praying for friends and loved ones today after a cyclone brought death and destruction to the Indian sub-continent.

Low-lying Bangladesh was hit by the tropical storm just as it was recovering from devastating floods - and many coastal communities have been blitzed, some even washed away completely.

Ipswich area Bangladeshi families, who are mainstays of the mosque and community centre in Ipswich, had just started to plan fund-raising events to help their country folk recover from the flooding when the latest tragedy occurred.

Now the charity effort will be re-doubled, a spokesman for the community told The Evening Star last night.

He said: "This is a terrible, dreadful tragedy and many people have been killed.

“It is mainly on the coast and some families have lost many lives and many homes have been swept away. Now we'll get together to see what we can do to help both sets of victims.”

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Today, aid workers were struggling to help thousands of survivors of the cyclone, which has killed a reported 1,100 people, savaged coastal towns and leaving millions without power.

Rescuers, some even employing the brute force of elephants, contended with roads that were washed out or blocked by wind-blown debris to try to get water and food to people stranded by flooding from Tropical Cyclone Sidr.

The damage to livelihood, housing and crops from Sidr will be “extremely severe”, said John Holmes, the United Nations undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, adding that the world body was making millions in aid cash available to Bangladesh.

The 150 mph winds wreaked havoc on the country's electricity and telephone lines, affecting even areas that were spared a direct hit, and leaving the full picture of the death and destruction unclear.

n Can you help the stricken nation in the wake of the latest tragedy? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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