LANDSLIDE IN HILLS

Death toll rises to 151

Search, rescue operations continue

Tapos Kanti Das with Shantimoy Chakma, Rangamti and Nazim Uddin, Chittagong | Published: 00:05, Jun 15,2017 | Updated: 00:09, Jun 15,2017

 
 
Rangamati landslide

Bangladeshi army and fire-fighters work to remove debris as they search for bodies after a landslide in Rangamati on Wednesday. ‑— AFP photo

Death toll in rain-triggered landslides in three hill districts as well as Chittagong and Cox’s Bazaar rose to 151 on Wednesday as the search and rescue operations continued for the second day, officials told New Age.
Until Tuesday, the death toll in Rangamati stood at 98, followed by 30 in Chittagong and six in Bandarban.
On Wednesday the toll rose to 147, including 105 in Rangamati, 36 in Chittagong, three in Cox’s Bazaar and one in Khagrachhari.
The toll in Bandarban remained unchanged at six.
The toll might increase, said disaster management department director general Reaz Ahmed.
He said that seven people were missing in Chittagong.
Led by the fire service, the search and rescue operations were proceeding smoothly, joined by the district administrations, the army, the police, the Red Crescent Society and locals, as the rains stopped on Tuesday night, he said.
The rescue operations would continue, he said.
A total of 4, 484 people were taken to 42 shelters by the district administration in the worst affected areas of Rangamati, Chittagong and Bandarban, said disaster management control room officials in the capital.
At the shelter s, evacuated people are facing acute drinking water crisis, said NGO worker Muktashree Chakma.
She said the injured housed in the temporary shelters were not getting even the primary treatments.
Muktashree is the founder of Supporting People and Rebuilding Communities.
She visited four shelters in Rangamati and provided
medicines for the needy.medicines for the needy.She said that the waters in the nearby creeks and rivers became muddy and unusable.According to reports from the affected districts  over 1,000 houses were damaged or destroyed.Photos posted on ISPR website on Wednesday show that the army personnel had been trying to remove muds and uprooted trees from the hilly  roads to restore communication in the affected areas.The road communications between Chittagong and Rangamati and Bandarban, disrupted since Tuesday morning, could not be restored until Wednesday evening, our correspondents reported.Since 9 PM on Wednesday, the Rangamati district administration requested people on the public announcement system to leave their homes on hill slopes and the foot of hills   and move to shelter centres. Rangamati deputy commissioner Manzarul Mannan said that rescue operations took place  in Rangamati Sadar upazila until Wednesday evening.He also said that the remote areas in the district could not be reached to undertake the rescue operations.Locals said at least 1,000 houses were damaged or destroyed by landslides in the district. District relief and rehabilitation officer Biswanath Majumder said that a list of 590 damaged houses had been prepared in the district according to initial assesmments.Flash floods inundated Barkal, Jurachhari, Bilaichhari, Naniachar, Baghaichhari and Longadu upazilas and other areas, said marooned local people.Power supply remained snapped since Monday morning. On Wednesday morning, roads and bridges minister Obaidul Quader visited some of the  affected areas in Rangamati district town.While briefing reporters at Rangamati Circuit House, he said all assistance would be provided to the affected people. He instructed the rescue teams to restore the disrupted road communications as speedily as possible. Relief and disaster management minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya visited  Rangunia, Chittagong to see the affected areas  and distribute relief to the affected families.Our Correspondent in Cox’s Bazar reported that landslide killed Mohammad Salim, 42, of west Satgoriapara village under Teknaf upazila and his daughter Kiso Moni, 3 and Abul Kasem, 50, of Talipara village under Ukihya upazila in the district on Wednesday morning. The government is far from sincere in its rescue and search efforts in the affected  areas, said  BNP senior joint secretary general Rizvi Ahmed.Official data show that 19 people died in landslides in Cox’s Bazar in June 2015, while in 2012, landslides claimed 94 lives in Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban and Sylhet.In 2011, the data show, landslides on Batali Hill killed 17 people.In 2007, landslides killed 127 people in the port city of Chittagong.  

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