Bangladesh landslide toll reaches 17
Last Updated: Saturday, July 02, 2011, 14:29
Dhaka: Authorities in Bangladesh on Saturday called off the rescue operation in the country's southeastern port city of Chittagong and retrieved another body from the mud, taking the total death toll from a rain-triggered landslide to 17.

"We have called off the rescue operations this morning after the last of the bodies believed to be trapped under the earth was retrieved," a fire brigade spokesman said.

Witnesses said the rescuers pulled out the body of 40- year-old Razia Begum at around 8 am after the overnight recovery of four more bodies, raising the death toll in the landslide to 17.

A number of shanties in the foothills at Tigerpass area of Chittagong were buried after a huge chunk of earth after a retaining wall collapsed at the scene yesterday.

Army engineers joined the fire brigade rescuers as the disaster perished all members of at least three families living in shanties on the foothills.

According to television reports, the incident happened hours after city authorities asked the people to take shelter in a nearby school as incessant downpours exposed the shanties on the hill slopes to landslide risks.

Landslides caused by heavy downpours appeared to be a growing concern particularly in southeastern region while environmental watchdogs were virtually screaming for years against hill cuts to develop infrastructures defying rules.

An expert study said over 100 hills disappeared while hundreds others were partially destructed in recent years to cause frequent mudslides.

Bangladesh witnessed its worst landslide in recent decades on June 13, 2007 when 123 people were buried alive under tones of mud rolled out from the hills on the dwelling houses built at hill slopes at the southeastern port city of Chittagong.

The disaster came as a recent report said thousands of poor people living on hill slopes were exposed afresh to life risks at the advent of monsoon due to rampant hill cuts while officials said landslides killed some 500 people in greater Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts in the past 10 years.


First Published: Saturday, July 02, 2011, 14:29

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