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Bangladesh floods claim 63 lives; bridge link to outlying area collapses

July 13, 1997

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ A bridge collapsed Sunday, removing the last link between the capital and an eastern district, as other roads remained flooded. Six more people died, raising the death toll in floods to 63.

Eleven major rivers in Bangladesh have burst their banks amid a week of torrential monsoon rains, inundating large portions in 30 of the country’s 64 districts, the Flood Control Center in Dhaka said.

More than 10,000 people in the eastern Bandarban district have been evacuated from their homes to higher ground.

The bridge over the Kkowai River, the last road link between the capital and the eastern Sylhet district, snapped when a truck laden with wheat tried to cross in defiance of a police ban on heavy vehicles, an official said.

Nobody was injured in the accident 120 miles east of the capital, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

With many roads from the capital to outlying areas under water, relief officials began to drop water and food to affected areas by helicopter, said Talukdar Abdul Khaleque, a junior minister for disaster management.

The armed forces have joined the efforts, and medical teams were providing emergency care to people in Bandarban and the eastern Rangamati district, he said.

United News of Bangladesh reported six new deaths in flooded areas Sunday, and said the death toll had risen to 63 in nearly a week.

Bangladesh, a delta nation of 120 million people, is hit by floods and cyclones that kill hundreds of people every year.

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