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Downpour pushes Bangladesh landslide death toll to 85
Publication Date : 28-06-2012
13 others die of drowning, lightning as floods inundate southeastern region
The death toll in landslides due to heavy monsoon rains in southeastern Bangladesh districts of Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and Bandarban rose to 85 yesterday.
At least 13 others were drowned by flash floods and struck by lightning in Cox's Bazar and Sylhet districts over the last two days as a nonstop downpour battered the country's southeastern region.
The number of casualties is feared to rise as scores went missing following multiple landslides and house collapse in the hill districts.
In landslide and house collapse, 36 died in Bandarban, 27 in Cox's Bazar and 22 in Chittagong, officials in the respective district administrations told The Daily Star.
As of Tuesday, the death toll was 15 in Chittagong and Cox's Bazar alone.
As the death roll rose by the hour, rescue operations were intensified with army troops joining the salvage efforts yesterday.
Following the daylong downpour, all domestic and international flight operations to and from Chittagong Shah Amanat International Airport were declared suspended at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday as the runway, like much of the port city, went under knee-deep to waist-deep water.
Flight operations were to resume at 5:00 a.m. today, according to civil aviation authorities.
Train services on the Dhaka-Chittagong route were also cut off as a railway bridge at Bhatiari collapsed around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, presumably due to the downpour.
The government has allocated Tk 10 million and 1,450 tonnes of rice for the affected people in Chittagong, Bandarban, Cox's Bazaar, Feni, Sylhet, Habiganj and Moulvibazar districts, according to a press release of the food and disaster management ministry.
In addition, local administrations in Chittagong, Bandarban, Cox's Bazar, Feni and Sylhet have distributed 172 tonnes of rice and 700,000 taka (US$8,554) among the victims.
The ministry is monitoring the rescue operations and the latest situation in the affected areas.
Our Chittagong bureau office reports that 18 people, including women and children, have died in the port city, three in Banshkhali upazila and one in Hathazari upazila.
Five members of a family were buried alive after a huge chunk of earth fell on their hillside home at the city's Biswa Colony on Tuesday, said Abdul Latif, officer-in-charge of Khulshi Police Station.
In the city's Motka Ghona area, two sisters aged seven and eight died in a landslide on Tuesday evening.
Six people, including two two-year-old girls, were killed at Yasin Colony under Khulshi Police Station.
“I somehow managed to come out of my house. But my wife and two-year-old daughter were buried under mud as huge chunks of earth fell on my house," said Mizanur Rahman of Yasin Colony.
His daughter died instantly. His wife survived but was fighting for her life at Chittagong Medical College Hospital.
Twenty four members of the Bangladesh Army were conducting rescue operations in the area.
Captain Gazi Md Maksud-ur-Rahim, who led the operation, told The Daily Star they recovered three bodies from 7 to 8 feet under the earth.
Three young members of a family were buried under mud on Tuesday night at Banshkhali upazila in Chittagong. The victims are Shahidul Islam, 12, Khorsheda Begum, 8, and Fatema Begum, 4.
Fifteen-year-old schoolgirl Kawser Ani died in a wall collapse at Chikandandi union under Hathazari upazila.
The incident happened when a roadside demarcation wall fell on her amid ceaseless rain while she was passing through around 6:00 p.m., said Md Idris, a member of the Chikandandi union.
Eight-year-old Abul Hossain of Ambagan area in the city also died in a wall collapse on Tuesday night.
Four members of a family were buried alive at Andharmanik area of Khulshi in another incident of landslide on night. The dead are Jahanara Begum, 40, and her three children Subarna Akter, 19, Rabeya Akter, 13, and Tanvir Ahmed, 9.
Meanwhile, life in Chittagong started to return to normal yesterday as the rainwater receded in most of the areas. Power supply that was snapped in many areas on Tuesday for fear of accidents was also restored.
However, loading and unloading of cargoes at the outer anchorage of Chittagong Port remained suspended due to bad weather, said Sayed Farhad Uddin, secretary of Chittagong Port Authority.
In Cox's Bazar, 10 bodies were recovered from Ukhia, eight from Chakaria, seven from Ramu, five from Maheshkhali, three each from Cox's Bazar sadar and Pekua and two from Kutubdia, said Abdul Mazid, district relief and rehabilitation officer.
He said 27 of them died in landslide, five in lightning while six people drowned.
Our Chittagong correspondent quoting Bandarban district administration officials reports that 27 people died in Bandarban's Lama upazila and nine in Naikkhangchhari.
Most of them died on Tuesday night in landslides.
The country's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Speaker of the parliament Abdul Hamid in parliament expressed deep shock at the deaths.
"We are deeply shocked. The House expresses its deep condolences to the bereaved family members of those who perished in the landslides," the Speaker said.