The commander of U.S. forces sent to save millions of cyclone victims from disease and hunger met with Bangladeshi leaders Tuesday to plan the massive relief mission.
Foul weather, lashing winds and floods continued to batter this storm-weary nation, claiming dozens more lives.In the northeast, swollen rivers fed by snow-capped mountains in the Himalayas spilled over their embankments and killed 10 people, raising the death toll to 27 in four days. New storms in Manikganj and Pabna in the north and northwest left 12 more people dead, officials said.
Nearly 139,000 people died when the most powerful cyclone on record in Bangladesh slammed into the southeastern coast two weeks ago. Since then, tornadoes, thunderstorms and floods have killed more than 160 people.
An estimated 10 million Bangladeshis are threatened by disease, hunger and exposure.
Maj. Gen. Henry Stackpole, the commander of the relief troops, met acting President Shahabuddin Ahmed and briefed him "about the mission of the Joint Task Force." said U.S. Embassy spokesman Carlos Aranaga.
Bangladesh Army Chief Lt. Gen. Noor Uddin Khan, a key figure in the relief efforts so far, and U.S. Ambassador William Milam attended the session at the president's office.
Stackpole then flew over the southern Kutubdia island and nearby areas in a Bangladesh air force helicopter for an aerial view of the devastation in some of the hardest-hit islands.
He was scheduled to explain his mission to a dozen government ministers later in the day.