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Tornado Kills More Than 400 People in Bangladesh

May 14, 1996

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ A tornado ripped through northern Bangladesh, killing more than 400 villagers and injuring at least 33,000 in a 20-minute outburst of destruction.

The 125-mph twister flattened dozens of villages and blew away more than 10,000 mostly mud-and-straw structures Monday afternoon in Tangail district where the worst of the damage occurred, the official BSS news agency said today.

In one village, 120 people died, including many students in a boarding school that collapsed.

Local administrator Irsat Jahan, who released the official toll of at least 406 dead and 33,000 injured, said many more bodies would probably be found when government relief workers finally reach the site Wednesday and begin helping the survivors.

Badshah Mia, an attendant at a local hospital who was reached by telephone, said his hospital was overwhelmed with patients, and hundreds of victims had been rushed to nearby facilities.

Mia said an acute shortage of blood and bandages was hampering medical treatment of the injured.

The tornado snapped telephone lines and uprooted many trees between Tangail and Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital, making it difficult to reach most of the area for hours.

Over the weekend, rainstorms killed at least 10 people in northern Bangladesh.

Tornados often strike in April, May and June, the months when the temperature skyrockets in Bangladesh. The monsoon season, when flooding is common, usually begins in early July.

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