Toll at 1,500 in Asian Cold Spell

From Associated Press

The death toll from a cold spell in India, Bangladesh and Nepal has risen to nearly 1,500, officials said Saturday, after 70 people died in northern India as chilly winds bore down from the Himalayas.

Sixty-three people died Friday in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where the death toll since Dec. 20 stands at 645, a state official said. In the eastern state of Bihar, 71 people have died, 11 of them Friday.

Bangladesh has reported 727 deaths, while 47 people have died in Nepal.

Inadequate heating and lack of warm clothing make the poor vulnerable to such conditions.

Low temperatures have been accompanied by dense fog that has reduced visibility, halting or delaying flights and trains in many parts of northern India.

At least 30 flights failed to take off from New Delhi's airport and some international flights were diverted Friday night because of fog, airport officials said. Traffic crawled as fog enveloped New Delhi's streets. Problems were exacerbated by power outages.

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