Officials in Bangladesh say more than 17-hundred people have been confirmed dead after a powerful cyclone battered the south of the country Thursday.
The death toll is expected to rise further once officials gain access to some of the worst hit coastal districts , including Barguna and Jhalakathi.
Cyclone Sidr flattened hundreds of thousands of village homes, washed away roads and cut off electricity and telecommunications to affected areas -- making it difficult to deliver aid.
The army deployed helicopters today (Saturday) to deliver food, medicine and drinking
water to survivors in remote areas, while navy ships are clearing coastal rivers clogged by sunken vessels to restore navigation for the delivery of supplies.
Officials say a mass evacuation ordered in advance helped save many lives, but hundreds of people are still missing, including fishermen.
The United Nations' humanitarian chief said Friday the U.N. has made several millions of dollars of emergency aid available to Bangladesh. And, the U.N. World Food Program said it was sending rations for up to 400-thousand people affected by the storm.
US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday that the United States is ready to work with Bangladesh's government and foreign donors to assist in relieving the effects of the disaster.
Storms batter Bangladesh every year, killing hundreds of people.
A cyclone that hit the country in 1970 killed about half a million people. Another in 1991 killed more than 130-thousand people.