17 dead, Bangladesh homes flooded after 3-day rain

Three days of incessant rains in Bangladesh have left at least 17 people dead and 41 fishermen missing across the southern coast, news reports said Saturday.

Tens of thousands of people are stranded as waters triggered by a tidal surge have inundated thousands of homes in the low-lying coastal zone, said the Bengali-language Kaler Kantha daily, quoting officials and witnesses.

Worst affected are southern coastal districts, and 15 deaths have occurred in the region, the newspaper said.

The English-language Daily Star reported that two teenagers had died in the capital, Dhaka, after a wall collapsed on them.

Kaler Kantha said at least 41 fishermen, who went to the sea days ago, were missing Saturday.

Giasuddin Ahmed, chief government administrator in the coastal town of Cox's Bazar, said that at least 10,000 islanders had taken refuge at cyclone shelters — raised concrete buildings — as the tidal surge from the Bay of Bengal inundated their homes.

He said they were providing the islanders with food.

Officials in other parts of the region could not be reached for comment Saturday.

The weather office in Dhaka said in a bulletin that all fishing boats should remain close to shore.

Bangladesh is a delta nation of 150 million people. Natural disasters like floods and cyclones are common.