Rangamati faces acute food, water crises

Tapos Kanti Das with Shantimoy Chakma in Rangamati | Published: 00:05, Jun 16,2017 | Updated: 11:34, Jun 16,2017


Fire fighters pull out a dead body at the site of a landslide in Rangamati on Thursday.— AFP photo

Sufferings of the people in the worst landslide affected Rangamati district multiplied on Thursday due to acute food, fuel, power and drinking water crises.
Road communication between Rangamati and the rest of the country, snapped by the country’s worst landslides since Tuesday morning could not be restored in last three days.
Snapped road communication disrupted supply of essentials to Rangamati for which prices sky rocketed in the area.
People became bitter as the landslides not only snatched their near and dear ones but also made them homeless and virtually paupers.
They are passing days in the shelter centres in great anxiety about their future.
Drinking water crisis made life unbearable for them.
Recovery of three more bodies on Thursday in Rangamati increased the combined death toll in three hill districts as well as Chittagong and Cox’s Bazaar to 154.
The search and rescue operations by the fire service, the army, the district administrations, the Red Crescent Society with support from locals would continue, executive magistrate Khondoker Md Ikhtiar Arafat, in-charge of Rangamati district control room, told New Age.
He said that the complete list of  affected families in the district was under preparation. He said that the complete list of  affected families in the district was under preparation. On Thursday, he said, the body of  army soldier Md Azizur Rahman,  who was  missing, since Tuesday morning while on rescue duty at Mahalchhari, Rangamati, was recovered by removing debris.He said fire service rescuers recovered the bodies of Sultana Begum, 45, from Pashchim Muslimpara and Rupam Datta, 20 from Shimultali, Rangamati district town.   At least six people - Mujib, Istyaque Tipu, Rubi Begum, Alamgir Hossain, Shahjahan and Moina Akhter have been missing from  Paschchim Muslim Para,  Rangamati district town, said neighbours.
Reports pouring from the five affected districts showed that over 1,000 houses were damaged or destroyed.Essentials prices sky rocketed in Rangamati as no supplies could reach the district town as debris on the roads snapped communication with the rest of the country.Liquid Petroleum Gas sold for between Tk 1500 and Tk 1,600 per cylinder Thursday though its normal price was Tk 1,050 until Monday. The district chamber of commerce and industry president Belayet Hossain Mia Belal said if food supplies were not resumed immediately the situation would aggravate.Petrol sold for Tk 150 a litre though the price was Tk 80 per litre before the landslides struck.All the petrol pumps in the district town remained shut as they had nothing to sell.   Power connections remained snapped since Tuesday.Army personnel Jibon Mitra Chakma told New Age in tears life ceased to have any meaning for him after the landslides snatched away his wife Sonali and his six year old daughter. At the shelter centre opened at the regional passport office, Nasrin Akhter said the government was providing three meals and nothing else. Power Development Board executive engineer Sabuj Kanti Majumder said it would take one or two days more to restore power supply in the district town.It could take 10 to 12 days to fully restore road communication between Rangamati and the rest of the country, said Rangamati Roads and Highways Department executive engineer Emdad Hossain. A total of 4, 484 people have taken shelters in to 42 shelters in the worst affected areas of Rangamati, Chittagong and Bandarban, said disaster management control room officials in the capital.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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