Agence France Presse

Kolkata, March 25:

Two days of gales and heavy rains left at least 18 people dead, 50 hurt and 7,500 homeless in India’s West Bengal state, officials said today. Eight died in Burdwan, 200 km west of Kolkata and another 10 in coastal villages strung along the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday and yesterday. “We have received reports of the deaths. Relief have been sent to the affected places,” said West Bengal relief minister Hafiz Alem Sairani. The casualties included 30 children hurt when a school roof collapsed on Wednesday, he said. He said most people died when their makeshift homes were blown over. The homeless were being sheltered in schools.

He described a trail of devastation with trees uprooted and high tension power lines and telephone links down.