Over 130 killed in B'desh landslides

Heavy rain landslides kill 134 in Bangladesh

Heavy rain landslides kill 134 in Bangladesh

Heavy rains since Monday morning swept through Bangladesh's three southeastern districts - Chittagong, Bandarban and Rangamati - and triggered huge landslides early on Tuesday and damaged hundreds of homes, Xinhua news agency reported. 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).

With at least 20 landslides hitting it, southeastern Rangamati hill district was worst affected and resulted in 99 deaths, including four army personnel who were doing rescue operations. But military spokesman Rezaul Karim says rescuers have been unable to get heavy machinery to the remote areas to help dig through the debris and have been using speedboats to bypass roads.

The death toll could rise further as rescuers search for bodies and many people are still missing, he told Reuters.

"We've rescued and evacuated around 2,300 people in Rangamati and Bandarban, and they have been taken to safer shelters", he said.

After the 2007 landslides, the government had plans to relocate people from vulnerable areas, but residents were unwilling to move, Disaster Management Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury said at a press conference on Tuesday, according to bdnews24.com.

He said rescuers pulled at least 30 bodies out from the mud and earth in Chittagong while seven people were killed due to landslides in the country's southeastern Bandarban district.

General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq, chief of army staff, visited the spot and inspected the rescue operations.

"We need to accomplish a crucial task of resuming Chittagong's road communications with Bandarban and Rangamati and Bandarban alongside salvaging the landslide victims", a Disaster Management official told reporters.

Bangladesh is in the middle of the monsoon season, but Monday's downpour was caused by a depression in the Bay of Bengal.

Chittagong district authorities have announced that affected families would receive approximately $250 and 30kg of rice.

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

Extreme weather in the far north-eastern Indian state of Mizoram along the border with Bangladesh left 12 people dead, an official there said Wednesday. Many people in hilly regions ignore authorities' calls to avoid constructing homes on slopes.

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