Landslides Kill 68 In Bangladesh

REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

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Reports from Dhaka, Bangladesh indicate that at least 68 people have died in recent landslides triggered by monsoon rains. Police and soldiers are struggling to reach remote regions of the country cut off by landslides, the Associated Press reports.

Bangladeshi officials were initially unsure if anyone was missing after large swaths of mud and debris swept through villages in three remote districts on Monday.

Reporters claim that “scores of people were injured and the death toll could rise.”

Military spokesman Rezaul Karim says that soldiers who were clearing a road were swept away by the mudslides. Five soldiers were flown to a military hospital in Dhaka, and “two officers and two soldiers have died, and two others remain missing in the incident,” Karim said.

Senior disaster management official Reaz Ahmed said that the rains began on Monday, and cleared by Tuesday allowing rescuers to better search for survivors; soldiers, police, and firefighters are still having trouble reaching some of the areas affected by the landslides.

Monday’s downpour, resulting from a depression in the Bay of Bengal, resulted in “at least 35 were dead in Rangamati, one of the worst-hit districts, and 23 were killed in Chittagong. At least 10 others died in Bandarban” according to a fire official Tarikul Islam.

Six temporary shelters have been set up in Rangamati’s Kawkhali area, a remote region where at least 5,000 homes were destroyed. Extensive damage was reported throughout Bangladesh’s hilly regions. Bangladeshi authorities have previously called on citizens to avoid construction on slopes, resulting in higher levels of damage done in this weeks floods.