400 Die of Cold Spell in India and Bangladesh

From Associated Press

Nearly 400 people died of cold in Bangladesh and northeastern India in the last 10 days as temperatures plummeted and cold winds swept in from the Himalayas, officials and news reports said Wednesday.

The cold sweeping across northern Bangladesh has caused 60 deaths this week, raising the toll there to 260, media reports said.

Temperatures dipped into the 30s and 40s -- dangerous in the impoverished countries, where millions of people live without heat, electricity and warm clothing.

At least 24 people died Tuesday night in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, pushing the toll there to 128, Home Ministry officials said in Lucknow, the state capital.

In India's eastern state of Bihar, the government reported 11 deaths.

The latest deaths in Bangladesh occurred Monday and Tuesday in the northern and western districts of Dinajpur, Gaibandha, Pabna and Rajshahi, where the temperature dropped to 48, the Janakantha newspaper in the capital, Dhaka, reported.

Most of the dead were children and elderly villagers who lived in mud-and-straw huts and could not afford warm clothing. At least 200 children have been hospitalized. Government officials confirmed that there had been deaths from the cold but declined to give any figures.

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