Lack of medicine and a shortage of hospital beds Friday hampered treatment of the victims of a tornado that pounded Bangladesh, leaving hundreds of people dead and thousands injured, doctors said.
The Relief Ministry says at least 600 people were killed and 12,000 injured Wednesday as the tornado swept through the Manikganj area, 25 miles northwest of Dhaka.But local newspapers said the toll could reach 1,000. The pro-government Janata newspaper quoted officials as saying bodies were being uncovered in the rubble of devastated houses and that several hundred of the injured were in critical condition.
Doctors at the Dhaka Medical College said an acute shortage of medicine and hospital beds was impeding treatment to the injured.
They said at least 1,000 people were brought to the hospital on Wednesday with broken limbs and head injuries. "We could only admit 225 of them," one doctor said. "The rest were given emergency treatment and released. Many of them did not get proper medicine."
An Associated Press reporter saw many of the injured lying in the corridors of the 1,000-bed hospital, which is considered Dhaka's largest and most modern medical facility.
"My mother needs blood and an operation," said a sobbing Ahmed Ali, a 15-year-old boy. "But no cot is available."
His mother, Ameena Begum, lay next to him on the corridor. Doctors said she had sustained serious head injuries and was periodically losing conciousness.
Her husband, Mohammad Ali, and two other sons were killed in the tornado. Ahmed Ali escaped with bruises.
"This is a terrible scene," said Mostafa Jala Mohiuddin, a doctor at the medical college. "I have never seen so many injured people flooding the hospital at a time."
The tornado left at least 400 people missing, including 200 fishermen who had taken their boats on the Padma River, officials at the Relief Ministry said. It also unleashed hailstones and heavy showers hours after President Hussain Muhammad Ershad led nationwide prayers for rains to ease a two-month-long drought.