Dhaka: The death toll from a tornado that swept through some 25 villages in eastern Bangladesh, rose to 23 with rescuers finding three more bodies in debris, a day after the deadly storm which also left nearly 500 people injured. The storm which hit the area on Friday, left a trail of destruction in 20 villages of Brahmanbaria sadar, Bijoynagar and Akhaura upazilas.
"Three more bodies were recovered on Saturday. One of them was Yasmin, who is the mother of two young boys and was found inside the tank of a sanitary latrine," a local journalist at the site told PTI by phone. Television footage showed villagers under an open sky around their flattened homes awaiting relief as the storm that lasted for some 15 minutes wreaked havoc in the area. Survivors said the storm blew away many people off the ground and several of the dead were found yards from their houses or where they were when the disaster struck. Rail travel between the capital and three districts Chittagong, Sylhet and Noakhali was suspended, as tracks were blocked by trees uprooted by the tornado.
Officials said the tornado led to partial collapse of the Brahmanbaria jail among other damaged buildings, killing a prison guard but all inmates were secure in the facility and officials were safe. "The storm was so powerful that it overturned dozens of motor vehicles and big trucks and uprooted dozens of trees and electricity poles," a local official told a private TV channel at the scene. Initial reports said at least 10 people were killed and a newspaper put the toll for the injured at 500 in the storm that lashed the distant villages in Brahmanbaria district.
Police superintendent of Brahmanbaria, M Moniruzzaman said some 100 people were rushed to hospitals, over a dozen of them with critical wounds. Bangladesh is among the countries most prone to natural floods, tornadoes and cyclones.