Bangladesh landslide toll reaches 17

Last Updated: Saturday, July 2, 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.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, July 2, 2011 - 14:29

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