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Landslides in Bangladesh: 125 dead, toll expected to rise

Landslides in Bangladesh: 125 dead, toll expected to rise

Heavy monsoon rains have triggered the landslides in the Asian nation.

The army said thousands of troops stationed in the affected districts as part of efforts to quell a long-running tribal insurgency had joined the rescue efforts.

Local people said a landslide pushed 15 army men down to around 30 feet, killing four instantly while a military spokesman in Dhaka said an army major and a captain were among four of their dead personnel.

Between Sunday and Monday, the district administration evacuated some 700-800 people who were deemed most vulnerable, said Md Manzarul Mannan, the deputy commissioner.

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

Reaz Ahmed, of the disaster management department, confirmed 107 deaths - 75 in Rangamati, 26 in Chittagong and six in Bandarban. Officials said many people were asleep when the tragedy hit, causing more casualties especially among children.

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

Mizoram authorities had recovered nine bodies and around seven people were still missing, the state's urban development and poverty alleviation minister said.

Army troopers, the fire service, the civil defense and local volunteers have launched massive searches in the remote hills as many civilians are still missing, added Chowdhury.

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.

Densely populated Bangladesh is battered by storms, floods and landslides every rainy season but this year's rain is the worst since 2007 when landslides killed 127 people in the port city.

At least 500 houses were washed away by the tidal surge at Kutubdia Island of Cox's Bazaar on Tuesday, and hundreds of trees were uprooted, according to Khondakar Mohammad Rezaul Karim, a senior government official of the area.

The latest disaster comes after Cyclone Mora smashed into Bangladesh's southeast in late May, killing at least eight people and damaging tens of thousands of homes.


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