4 killed in fresh Bangladesh landslides

Bangladeshi firefighters recovering a body after a landslide in Rangamati last week. Bangladesh was hit by the worst mudslides on record last week, killing 158.
Bangladeshi firefighters recovering a body after a landslide in Rangamati last week. Bangladesh was hit by the worst mudslides on record last week, killing 158.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

DHAKA • Fresh landslides killed four people and sent hundreds fleeing in Bangladesh yesterday, 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 last 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, the 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 yesterday in the district's Ramgarh town, when their home was struck by a wave of mud.

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"The siblings were sleeping when a segment of the hill buried their bedroom," local police chief Shariful Islam told Agence France-Presse. "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 that no one else was missing. Two people were also buried in their home in the north-eastern town of Borolekha yesterday, said district police chief Mohammad Shahjalal.

The latest casualties come a day after the authorities raised the death toll from last week's landslides to 158 after the discovery of two bodies in the worst-hit district of Rangamati, local administrator Manzurul Mannan told AFP. 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 disaster a decade ago. Experts have blamed unregulated construction and the large-scale felling of trees in Bangladesh's hill districts for exacerbating the scale of the disaster.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2017, with the headline '4 killed in fresh Bangladesh landslides'. Print Edition | Subscribe