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Deadly Cyclone Wreaks Havoc for Bangladesh

Aid agencies are rushing to assist Bangladesh in the aftermath of a cyclone that killed thousands and left millions homeless. Bangladesh's Ambassador to the United States and an international aid expert assess relief efforts.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Now the Bangladesh story. We start with a report narrated by Inigo Gilmore of Independent Television News.

  • INIGO GILMORE, ITV News Special Correspondent:

    They're stunned, traumatized, and they're hungry. This the scene across Bangladesh's devastated cyclone zone today, as the military stepped in to try to help.

    The queues for food are long. Aid agencies warn that the havoc wreaked by the cyclone has compounded the already bleak food situation. A lucky few are handed cash; if only there was something to spend it on.

    The water has receded, but the grief shows no sign of subsiding. This man, like others in his village, has lost everything. And for Masuda Begum, the tragedy is particularly heart-breaking.

  • MASUDA BEGUM, Survivor (through translator):

    During the storm, my mother held on tightly to a wooden post of our home, but the water swept her away. We could not save her. For the last three days, we have been searching for her body, but have not found it. I saw her sinking in the water.

  • INIGO GILMORE:

    The flimsy structures that count for homes here were swept aside as the cyclone created a wave like a small tsunami that tore through hundreds of defenseless villages. Blighted Bangladesh has seen this sort of thing before, but it's the worst natural disaster in over a decade.

  • AMENA BEGUM, Survivor (through translator):

    The storm has taken everything I had. My husband is dead. I'm very alone. How can I survive?

  • INIGO GILMORE:

    A major international aid effort is underway to boost those chances of survival. With roads and bridges washed away, it's difficult to reach the devastated communities. Some outlying areas are still cut off, so the scale of the devastation remains unknown.