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Aid Pours Into Storm-Battered Bangladesh; Official Death Toll Surpasses 3,100


A United Nations agency says it has joined forces with Bangladesh's Air Force to airdrop emergency supplies to hundreds of thousands of people devastated by last week's Cyclone Sidr.

The World Food Program says it has delivered high-energy biscuits to more than 650,000 Bangladeshis so far.

Military ships and helicopters are being used to deliver food, water, tents and other emergency supplies to those stranded on islands in the Bay of Bengal and other areas that remain cut off. Officials fear outbreaks of disease as bodies rot in rivers and fields.

UNICEF representative in Bangladesh, Louis-George Arsenault described the scene as "apocalyptic."

International aid is pouring into Bangladesh as relief officials warn the number of dead killed in Thursday's storm could reach as high as 10,000.

The government puts the death toll at 3,100 with 1,000 others listed as missing.

Disaster officials say Bangladesh has received aid pledges totaling $140 million.

Saudi Arabia alone is offering $100 million. Emergency aid also has come from the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, Britain, India and Canada.

Last Thursday, Cyclone Sidr struck Bangladesh's low-lying coastal region, destroying thousands of homes, washing out roads and cutting off electricity and phone lines. A tidal wave triggered by the storm engulfed entire villages and was responsible for most of the deaths and devastation.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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