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Bangladesh cyclone Roanu kills 23, displaces 500,000

Extreme winds and rain pummeled the south of Bangladesh, resulting in widespread devastation. South Asia has experienced a week of severe weather that has cost hundreds of lives.

Cyclone Roanu killed 23 people and forced half a million more to flee their homes in Bangladesh on Saturday as it battered down on the country's southern coast. Some 250,000 people have also been marooned on spits of land left surrounded by water, authorities in the Chittagong coastal district said.

Around 500,000 people were taken into some 3,500 shelters as the storm made landfall just after midday local time. With winds up to 88 kilometers per hour (54 mph), the gale devastated many of the area's communities, which are made up of mostly mud-and-tin structures.

"We've shifted most of the people who are vulnerable," said Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Minister of Disaster Management and Relief.

The government shut down sea and river ports as a precaution. It also warned of the risk of mudslides following the storm.

The cyclone comes on the heels of a week of extreme weather wreaking havoc across South Asia.

Sri Lanka has been hit by its heaviest rains in decades

, while India has seen record-high heat claim the lives of more than 100 people in recent weeks.

es/jm (AFP, Reuters)

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