Dhaka, June 14: Heavy rains and landslides in south-east Bangladesh have killed 130 people, most of them buried under landslides. The victims include at least 39 women and 22 children. The number of casualties is expected to increase as relief workers reach remote parts of the affected area. Many of the dead were from the tribal communities in the district of Rangamati, close to the Indian border.
District police chief Sayed Tariqul Hasan said most of the landslides happened before dawn yesterday. He said many of the victims were sleeping in their houses on hillsides when the landslides occurred. Meanwhile rains continue to lash the area and Chittagong remains cut off from affected areas slowing the pace of rescue operations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the loss of lives in massive landslides in Bangladesh. He said India stands shoulder to shoulder with the neighbouring country. Yesterday, in a series of tweets, the Prime Minister said that India stands ready to support local search and rescue efforts if required. Mr Modi said, he was saddened by the loss of lives and his thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured.
The landslide happened due to too much rain in a short time. Also destruction of hills and trees over the years has made the hills risky, contributing to the disaster, said Reaz Ahmed, director general of the disaster management department.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts saw over 300mm of rainfalls in the 24 hours till yesterday morning. Chittagong alone experienced 222mm of rain during the same period. None of these areas has seen such rain in recent years. Telephone and transport links had been cut in most parts of the region, he added.