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Cyclone Kills at least 143 in Eastern India, Bangladesh

NEW DELHI/DHAKA (Kyodo) — A severe cyclone that swept through the Bay of Bengal has left 45 people dead in eastern India and 98 others in Bangladesh, news reports said.

Press Trust of India said thousands of people were affected by cyclone Aila, which lashed Kolkata and other coastal areas on Monday with winds reaching 80-90 kilometers per hour.

The cyclone caused extensive damage to telephone and power lines and thatched houses, as well as uprooting trees.

The Indian army is carrying out rescue and relief operations that involve airdrops of food packets.

In Dhaka, media reports said 98 bodies have been recovered from 13 coastal districts in southwestern Bangladesh. Local officials say the death toll may rise, as more than 300 fishermen are missing.

High winds and tidal surges battered and flooded villages, leaving thousands of people homeless, and disrupting communications, officials said.