Bangladesh cyclone death toll hits 3,000, millions destitute

BARGUNA, Bangladesh, Nov 18, 2007 (AFP) – The death toll from a massive cyclone that smashed through impoverished Bangladesh was 3,000 and continuing to rise Sunday with millions left homeless, hungry and without medical help. Three days after the disaster, rescue workers were still fighting their way to remote areas where entire villages on the coast of the Bay of Bengal were flattened by the fury of Cyclone Sidr.

Traumatised survivors said they too would soon die unless help arrived.

“I lost six of my family members in the cyclone. I am afraid that the rest three of us will die of hunger. We are without food and water for the last few days,” said a 55-year-old farmer, Sattar Gazi.

“For the corpses, we don’t even have clothes to wrap them in for burial… we are wrapping the bodies in leaves,” he told AFP in a village situated on the Bay of Bengal coast and smashed by a six-metre (20 foot) high tidal wave.

Abdul Zabbar, a 50-year-old teacher, said the situation in the area — already one of the poorest places on earth — was unbearable.

“There is no food and drinking water. The whole village is unlivable. Bodies are still floating in the rivers and paddy fields,” he said, adding the rice harvest — or