Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bangladesh faces more landslide risks as death toll rises to 151

Bangladesh Army and Fire Brigade Rescuers Friday wrapped up search operations after two more bodies were recovered from debris of rain-triggered devastating landslides that struck the country's southeastern region Tuesday.

At least 151 people are reported to have been killed and hundreds of others injured in the landslides that devastated places in five districts in Chittagong Hill Tracts in southeastern Bangladesh.

The landslides claimed 107 lives alone in Rangamati district, some 391 km from capital Dhaka, where two more bodies were retrieved Friday.

Apart from them, at least 44 bodies have been recovered in Rangamati's neighboring four districts -- Chittagong, Bandarban, Cox's Bazar and Khagrachhari till Friday.

Mohammad Manzarul Mannan, Rangamati district administration chief, told journalists Friday that they are asking people to remain in shelters till further notice.

He said possibility of further landslide in the already affected areas can't be ruled out as the hilly districts are likely to get more rain in the coming days.

People, especially in Khagrachari district's vulnerable places, have also asked to go to the landslide resistant shelters.

Early Tuesday's Bangladesh landslide death toll included four members of Bangladesh Army including two of its officers.

Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) of Bangladesh Army said 10 more army personnel were also injured in the incident while another remained missing.

Lieutenant Colonel Md Rashidul Hasan, director of ISPR, told Xinhua that army personnel died while they were working to clear a road in a worst landslide hit area in Rangamati district.

A Rangamati district administration official said that though official rescue operations wrapped up, authorities will continue search for missing if any.

The official who did not like to be named said it has now no information on the missing.

According to the official, the flood caused by the incessant rain inundated many areas of the Rangamati since Monday. The Chittagong Hill Tracts saw over 300 mm of rainfalls in the 24 hours till Tuesday morning.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced after unusually heavy rain on Monday triggered a string of mudslides.

Devastating landslides affected millions after destroying homes, crops, and roads, most of them having gone beyond usage.

Landslides are frequent in Bangladesh's hilly areas during the heavy monsoon that usually runs from June to September as land has been heavily deforested to grow crops and build new houses.

In June 2007, some 123 people were killed in a devastating landslide in Bangladesh's southeastern Chittagong district, some 242 km away of Dhaka.

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