Over 130 killed in B'desh landslides

Over 130 killed in B'desh landslides

An aerial view showing the town half-submerged in floodwaters following landslides triggered by heavy rain in Khagrachari, Bangladesh. Heavy rains triggered landslides that killed dozens in southeast Bangladesh, officials said Tue.

Heavy monsoon rains also pounded the capital Dhaka and the port city of Chittagong in the district of the same name, disrupting traffic for hours and flooding key roads and business districts.

Officials confirmed 129 deaths but media reports put the number as high as 137 in almost three days' of torrential rains due to a depression in the Bay of Bengal which have triggered a series of landslides since Monday in the three districts.

It was not immediately clear if any villagers were still missing after large chunks of mud swept over thatched homes and settlements in three hilly districts on Monday.

"Rescue operations are being hampered by bad weather while authorities are still struggling to reach some remote areas", he added.

An Army statement said Major Mohammad Fazlul Haque, Captain Tanvir Salam Shanta, Corporal Mohammad Azizul Haque and soldier Md Shahin Alam were killed while trying to restore road communications.

Rains that began early Monday had cleared by Tuesday, allowing rescuers to work faster in searching for survivors.

Bangladesh experienced heavy downpour on Monday because of a depression formed in the Bay of Bengal.

He said rescuers pulled at least 30 bodies out from the mud and earth in Chittagong while seven people were killed due to landslides in the country's southeastern Bandarban district. Extensive devastation was reported in the region.

So far, at least 133 people, including 4 army men, died in a series of landslides in 3 Chittagong hill districts.

Over 1,000 homes were destroyed or damaged in Rangamati, said Bishwanath Majumder, the officer in charge of assessing the disaster impact.

The district administrations opened a number of makeshift shelter homes for people evacuated and rescued from some 20 landslide spots.

Experts say unplanned settlements at foothills and extraction of soil by unscrupulous traders were the main reasons behind such high death tolls.

Densely populated Bangladesh is battered by storms, floods and landslides every rainy season.

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