Rescuers dig for survivors in Bangladesh mudslide; 140 dead


Rescuers dig for survivors in Bangladesh mudslide; 140 dead

At least 125 have died after heavy rain triggered landslides in three hill districts of southeastern Bangladesh. According to the Bangladesh Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC), as of 09:00 UTC (15:00 local) on Tuesday June 13, the Halda river at Narayanhat, Chittagong was at 16.75 m (55 ft).

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

More than 10,000 people were evacuated to emergency shelters in Chittagong, Bandarban and Rangamati, Sarwar, she added.

The natural disaster left four army troopers killed and two others missing, Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury, minister for disaster management and relief, told reporters in Dhaka. "But we did not have enough rescuers to send", said Didarul Alam, fire services chief for Rangamati district.

Another 28 were killed in the coastal Chittagong district, six died in Bandarban, two in Cox's Bazar and one in Khagrachhari.

Hundreds of rescuers - including soldiers, firefighters, police and volunteers - were still digging through vast piles of mud in search of bodies.

Experts say unplanned settlements at foothills and extraction of soil by unscrupulous traders were the main reasons behind such high death tolls.

Police and local authorities ordered the evacuation of thousands of people living in slums at the base of hills in the neighbouring district of Chittagong, where 30 people have been confirmed dead.

The officials said the troops were called out to clear the landslide rubble from a highway linking port city of Chittagong with Rangamati.

Bangladesh has been experiencing heavy downpour since Monday because of a depression formed in the Bay of Bengal.

According to a study released by the National Bureau of Statistics, more than 22 million Bangladeshi people, 12,6 percent of the country's population, live in disaster-prone areas, which caused losses of 2,3 billion dollars from 2009 to 2014.

"The situation forced us to demolish a protection embankment against tidal surges as it appeared to be obstructing drainage inundating homes and roads", a city corporation official said.

The latest toll makes this year's disaster deadlier even than a 2007 landslide that killed 127 people in Chittagong.

BSS quoted disaster management officials as saying more than 4,000 people were moved to government shelters as the landslides ravaged their homes or they were exposed to danger of fresh landslides.



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