Bangladesh landslide death toll hits 156 as rescue called off in Rangamati

The death toll from landslides has risen to 156 as rescue efforts ended in Rangamati, the worst-hit among five southeast Bangladesh districts.

Published : 16 June 2017, 12:31 PM
Updated : 16 June 2017, 04:19 PM

The army and fire service had been conducting searches for victims alongside local volunteers after heavy rains triggered landslides in the remote hill district.

The announcement to end the three-day operation was made by Rangamati Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Manzarul Mannan at a media conference at 5:45pm on Friday.

"One or two people may have been missing. We are calling the rescue operation off since there is no official data on the missing people," he said.

"We will resume the rescue operation immediately whenever the news of a missing person is reported," he added.

Rangamati had the highest number of casualties at 110, including 33 women and 35 children, according to the disaster management ministry control room in Dhaka.

Chittagong suffered 23 deaths, Bandarban six, Cox's Bazar two and Khagrhachharhi one.

In Chittagong, 14 more people died in flash floods, or after being hit by fallen tree or wall, or lightning strike.

The fire service, army, police, district administration, Roads and Highways Division and Power Division launched the rescue operations in the five districts after the landslides started on Monday night.

Speaking at the conference, DC Manzarul blamed global climate change for the disaster.    

"It's unfortunate. The landslides were a natural calamity. Global climate change and heavy rains caused those," he said.

"This a lesson for us. We will be alert in the future," he added.

He said all the government and private bodies and organisations of local people volunteered in the rescue operations along with the fire service and army.

According to officials, people affected by the landslides in the district were being given food and treatment at 17 shelters opened in Rangamati.

DC Manzarul said more people were being taken to the shelters because fresh rains have raised possibilities of more landslides.

The families of the dead were being given Tk 20,000 and rice. The injured people were getting Tk 5,000 and rice.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher