Fresh landslides hit Bangladesh, kill four

Fresh landslides hit Bangladesh, kill four

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Bangladeshi firefighters carry a dead body at the site of a landslide in Rangamati in this June 15, 2017 file photo. — AFP
Bangladeshi firefighters carry a dead body at the site of a landslide in Rangamati in this June 15, 2017 file photo. — AFP

DHAKA — Fresh landslides killed four people and sent hundreds fleeing in Bangladesh on Sunday, police said, just days after the worst mudslides on record left more than 150 dead amid a heavy monsoon.

Two children were buried in their sleep while two other victims were killed in a separate incident when their home was struck by an avalanche of mud and rock. The twin tragedies followed renewed rainfall in Bangladesh’s hill regions on Saturday, the scene of its worst landslides in living memory that last week killed 158 and destroyed roads and critical infrastructure.

Fearing further deadly landslides amid a fresh deluge, authorities in Khagrachhari hill district evacuated hundreds of civilians from disaster-prone areas, said district police chief Ali Ahmad Khan.

It was too late for two siblings, aged eight and 13, who were killed early Sunday in the district’s Ramgarh town when their home was struck by a wave of mud.

“The siblings were sleeping when a segment of the hill buried their bedroom,” local police chief Shariful Islam told AFP.

“There has been rainfall in the region over the last five days, but last night it was very heavy, causing this landslide,” he said, adding no one else was missing.

Two people were also buried in their home in the northeastern town of Borolekha on Sunday, district police chief Mohammad Shahjalal said.

The latest casualties come a day after authorities raised the death toll from last week’s landslides to 158 after the discovery of two bodies in the worst-hit district of Rangmati, local administrator Manzurul Mannan said.

The vast majority of those killed were in Rangamati, where 2,500 people are still being housed in government shelters.

The landslides were the deadliest in modern times in Bangladesh, eclipsing a death toll of 127 from a similar event a decade ago.

Experts have blamed unregulated construction and the large-scale felling of trees in Bangladesh’s hill districts for loosening earth and exacerbating the scale of the disaster.

The disaster agency has begun assessing the full extent of the damage in the hills around Chittagong, which cover one-tenth of Bangladesh’s landmass, following last week’s incessant rain.

The monsoon deluge came just a fortnight after Cyclone Mora smashed into Bangladesh’s southeast, killing at least eight people and damaging tens of thousands of homes. — AFP

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