COX';S BAZAR - A tropical storm lashed southern Bangladesh on Tuesday, destroying hundreds of poorly built homes in some remote islands in the Bay of Bengal, officials said. No casualties were immediately reported.
Tropical Storm Mora started crossing the country's southern coastal region early in the day. Some 300,000 people had been moved to safety or were evacuated on Monday as the delta nation braced for its first strong storm of the year, with more than 1,000 shelters set up in several districts, including Cox's Bazar and Chittagong. More than 20,000 volunteers were on hand.
Cox's Bazar's chief government administrator, Ali Hossain, said the storm destroyed hundreds of homes on Saint Martins Island after it started hitting the area around midnight Monday.
Saint Martins public representative Nur Ahmed said strong winds flattened many homes. About 8,000 residents moved to storm shelters and hotels. "We have no news of any casualties in the area so far," he said.
Many of the 22,000 people on Cox's Bazar's Moheshkahli Island, where 10,000 people died in a cyclone in 1991, moved to shelters.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 89 kilometers (55 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 117 kph (73 mph).