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ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

More news from South Asia now - Bangladesh.

More than 1,700 have died since a category four cyclone hit the south and central part of that country on Thursday. Rescuers are still trying to reach survivors. But downed power lines, trees and flooding are making it difficult. Officials fear more bodies will turn up in the coming days.

With 150-mile-an-hour wind, Cyclone Sidr was the worst storm to hit Bangladesh in years. Officials say the death toll would have been even worse, but many villages were evacuated on time and the tidal surge was not as bad as feared.

We spoke earlier today with Vince Edwards, the Bangladesh national director for the relief group World Vision. He described the devastation.

Mr. VINCE EDWARDS (National Director, World Vision Bangladesh): The estimates are about 280,000 families that are being made homeless, primarily because of their houses being damaged either fully or partially. Our teams are also reporting that there has been extensive damage to the rice crops and almost 70 percent of the rice crops have been devastated. And there's also a huge loss to livestock, which will have a major impact on the household livelihood.

SEABROOK: Geography and climate worked against Bangladesh. The country is in the Ganges River delta. And while the land is fertile, it is low lying. And the country lives through an annual cycle of monsoons and cyclones that can claim hundreds of thousands of lives. The climate is especially harsh on the poor. And this was apparent in the latest storm.

Mr. EDWARDS: It's estimated that 40 to 50 percent of the houses that have collapsed are either made of mud or bamboo. And I'm sure these will not be able to stand the, you know, the winds of this speed. And that's why you see such a large devastation in the area, and several of these families that are being made homeless.

SEABROOK: We reached Vince Edwards of World Vision in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

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