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Tornadoes rip south US

- 18 killed in arkansas & iowa, bangladesh storm claims 16
Debris hangs from a tree in tornado-hit Arkansas on Saturday night. (Reuters)

Little Rock, Ark, April 28 (Reuters): Workers searched for survivors today in the rubble left by a wave of tornadoes that ripped through the south-central US a day earlier, killing at least 18 people in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Iowa.

In Dhaka, at least 16 people were killed and nearly 1,000 homes damaged in a powerful storm that hit northern and northwestern Bangladesh, disrupting normal life in the regions.

The storm also derailed nine coaches of a train on the middle of a bridge, prompting authorities to suspend railway services between the northwest and southwestern region.

Arkansas was the hardest hit, with at least 16 people dead. Neighborhoods were torn apart in central Faulkner County, where at least 10 people died in the storm system that produced that first fatalities of this year's US tornado season, authorities said.

"It was a devastating tornado," Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe told a news conference, saying the main focus was on finding and rescuing victims.

The White House said President Barack Obama, who has been on a trip abroad, called Beebe to receive an update on the damage and to offer his condolences.

Strong winds wrenched houses off their foundations and flipped cars on top of the rubble in the small town of Vilonia in Faulkner County. Nine of the victims in the county lived on the same street in Vilonia, where at least 60 homes were destroyed, local broadcaster Kark TV reported.

Medical officials reported at least 100 people in Arkansas were injured.

“It’s so heartbreaking. I've never seen destruction like this before,” US Representative Tim Griffin told reporters after touring Vilonia.

 
 
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