At least 12 people were killed in incidents of landslide in Rangamati and Cox’s Bazar amid heavy rainfall on Tuesday, just one year after a landslide had killed 120 people in the hill district in 2017.
Two other people went missing after being washed away by mudslide at two places in Rangamati.
Of the deceased, 11 were killed in different parts of Nannerchar upazila in the hill district and the other was killed in Maheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar, officials said.
Bangladesh Meteorological Department officials in Dhaka recorded the country’s highest 264 millimetre rainfall in Rangamati in 24 hours ending Tuesday 6:00am. The rainfall in Cox’s Bazar was 86mm during the time.
Rangamati deputy commissioner AKM Mamunur Rashid said that landslide killed 11 people at three villages under Nannerchar.
‘Four of them were killed in Dharmachandpara, four members of a family at Boropoolpara and three others at Hatimara.’
Nine of the Nannerchar victims were identified so far, he said.
Those killed at Boropoolpara are Surendra Lal Chakma, 48, his wife Rajjo Debi Chakma, 45, their daughter Sonali Chakma, 9, and another boy Rumen Chakma, 12.
At Hatimara, two of the three deceased are Rita Chakma and Riten Chakma.
The four killed at Dharmachandpara include Phul Devi Chakma, Eti Chakma and a two-month-old baby.
The missing two are Brishketu Chakma, 65, of village Moontola of Nannerchar and Sorol Ujni Chakma, 35, of village Noadam under Borkol upazila as they were washed away by mudslide Tuesday noon.
Traffic on Chittagong-Rangamati and Rangamati-Khagrachari highway remained suspended as the road went under water in Thandachari area.
Low-lying areas of Rangamati district went under water amid torrential rain over the last two days and met office said that the rain would continue for two more days.
Nannerchar Sadar Union Parishad chairman Jyoti Lal Chakma said that road communication of Rangamati-Khagrachari was also suspended and several points of the road in Kutukchari union of Rangamati were badly damaged.
He said that hill-slide smashed about 100 houses at Islampur, Burighat and Bogachori unions of the upazila.
Nannerchar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Abdullah Al Mamun said that people killed in landslide on Tuesday did not live in hill pockets.
‘They were living far from the hill for last 30 years. But severe landslide came down in a different way killing people far from hill side.’
Fire Service and Civil Defence deputy director Didarul Alam said hill-slide submerged the low lying areas of Baghaichari, Longdu, Jurachori, Borkol and Kaokhali upazila in Rangamati.
Chittagong-Rangamati road communication was suspended as the road was flooded by mud.
On 12 June 2017, at least 120 people including four army personnel were killed in incidents of landslide in Rangamati. Besides, 26 people in Chittagong and seven in Bandarban were killed in landslide on the day.
Chittagong University of Science and Technology professor Md Jahangir Hossain attributed these landslides to illegal hill-cutting.
‘The soil of hilly areas cannot absorb rain water if there is no forest or trees. For lack of forest and adequate trees, soil releases its water, which results in landslide,’ he explained.
New Age correspondent in Cox’s Bazar, quoting Maheshkhali police officer-in-charge Pradip Kumar Das, reported that 34-year-old Badsha Mia of village Panichhora under the upazila was killed in a landslide in his village around 8:00am.
Rangamati deputy commissioner AKM Mamunur Rashid said they had 21 shelter centres at Sadar. ‘We have moved 500 people to different shelters… Every government educational institutions are ready to serve people as per the instruction of local administration in case of any emergency.’
He said they had distributed Tk 20,000 and 30 kilograms of rice for each of the victim families.
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