Cold spell kills 17 in B’desh

Associated Press

Dhaka, January 2:

Cold air sweeping in from the Himalayas killed at least 17 people across Bangladesh last week, hospital sources and a news report said today. At least 11 elderly people died from Thursday to Saturday in southern Barisal district, where temperatures dipped as low as 8.2 degrees Celsius. Most developed hypothermia or pneumonia from exposure to the cold, said doctors at the Agailjhara Sadar Hospital where eight victims died.

Three more deaths were reported in southern Jhalakathi district, two in eastern Jessore, and one in central Kishoreganj, the Bengali-language daily Amar Desh said.

Poor villagers are ill- prepared for winter conditions in Bangladesh, a tropical delta region lying in the foothills of the Himalayas. Many of the impoverished nation’s 140 million people live in mud-and-thatch huts and cannot afford enough food, warm clothes or blankets.