Toll rises to 125 in Bangladesh landslides

Nick Mcbride
June 14, 2017

The head of the Disaster Management Department Reaz Ahmed said the landslides were the worst in the country's history and warned the toll would rise as rescuers reached cut-off areas.

The death toll in the landslides in southeastern hilly districts of Bangladesh has risen to 130 with rescue operations slowed down by bad weather and cut-off communications still continuing.

The incessant rains caused water-logging in many parts of Chittagong and submerged a number of coastal villages apart from triggering the landslides.

"We have been unable to reach some of the more remote places due to the rain".

Numerous victims were from tribal communities in the remote hill district of Rangamati, close to the Indian border, where 98 people were killed when mudslides buried their homes.

District police chief Sayed Tariqul Hasan said most of the landslides happened before dawn Tuesday.

At least 27 deaths were reported from the port city of Chittagong which witnessed five landslides while the rest of the casualties were reported from neighbouring Bandarban district where the torrential rains triggered three landslides. "Once the rains are over, we'll get a full picture of the damage and get the recovery work in full swing", he added.

"We've evacuated some of the affected villagers to schools and other safe places".

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The dead include four soldiers who had joined the rescue operation in Rangamati when another landslide occurred, he said.

Thousands of troops are stationed in Rangamati, where a tribal insurgency raged for two decades, and which still erupts in sporadic violence.

"Our team is working here to clear the dirt".

Bangladesh experienced heavy monsoon rains throughout Monday because of the influence of a depression formed in the Bay of Bengal.

The latest fatalities came weeks after Cyclone Mora lashed Bangladesh's southeast, killing at least seven people and damaging tens of thousands of homes.

The heavy rains could trigger further landslides in the hilly areas, Meghnath Tunchangya, assistant meteorologist of Patenga meteorology office in Chittagong, told The Daily Star citing the weather forecast.

Ahmed said that there was no exact total of the missing in the three districts, but residents feared many people were still unaccounted for.

Other reports by VgToday

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