Thursday, December 7, 2023

134 dead in Bangladesh landslides, many missing

Dhaka, June 14 (IANS) The death toll from the devastating rain-triggered landslides in Bangladesh’s three southeastern districts has risen to 134 as rescuers retrieved more bodies including those of two Army officers, officials said on Wednesday.

Since Monday morning, heavy rains swept through the districts of Chittagong, Bandarban and Rangamati and triggered huge landslides early on Tuesday, burying many in their homes as they slept, reports Xinhua news agency.

Four members of the Bangladesh Army including two of its officers were killed in a landslide in Rangamati.

Lt Col Md Rashidul Hasan told Xinhua that 10 Army men were also injured in the incident while another remained missing.

The two officers died while conducting a rescue operation in the worst landslide that hit the area.

Rangamati Police chief Sayeed Tarikul Hassan said flooding caused by incessant rain had inundated many areas since Monday after around 30 cm of rainfall was recorded in 24 hours till 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

Rescue operations are on as rescue teams searched for more bodies buried under mud and debris with shovels and bare hands, he said.

A Rangamati district administration official who preferred to be unnamed said rescuers have retrieved 45 bodies in the district, 391 km away from Dhaka.

In the Bandarban district located 316 km away from Dhaka, seven people have been killed in landslides.

Police have retrieved their bodies from under the mud with the help of locals, Superintendent of Police Sanjeeb Kumar Roy told Xinhua.

Nineteen people have reportedly died in the southern district of Chittagong, another landslide danger zone where telephone and transport links have been cut.

Police warned that the death toll would likely rise as emergency workers reached remote parts of the Chittagong Hills, 242 km away from Dhaka.

About 15 people were missing in Bandarban and Chittagong, feared buried under mud.

Dhaka’s flood forecasting centre said on Tuesday that the water-level in all the major rivers was rising and some were flowing above the danger mark.

The downpour followed Monday’s depression in the Bay of Bengal. Landslides frequently occur in Bangladesh’s hilly areas during heavy monsoon that usually runs from June to September.

In June 2007, 123 people were killed in a devastating landslide in Chittagong.

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