2 more bodies recovered in Rangamati
Rangamati: The bodies of two more landslide victims were recovered from different parts of Rangamati on Friday morning.
With the recovery of two more bodies, the death toll from the deadliest hillslide in the country’s five southeastern hill districts rose to 156.
Fire service sources said, fire fighters carried out operation for the fourth consecutive day and recovered the bodies of Ibrahim, 28, and Mujibur, 12, from Kaptai Lake and near Rangamati Circuit House respectively.
The landslides were the deadliest in the country’s history, eclipsing the previous highest death toll of 127 a decade ago.
Bijoy Giri Chakma, an elected tribal leader in the hardest-hit district of Rangamati, told AFP the landslides were the worst he had ever seen, and blamed unplanned construction and the large-scale cutting of trees for the scale of the disaster.
‘Trees have been felled indiscriminately, which loosens the soil. A lot of these hills are now completely barren,’ said Chakma.
His views chimed with those of local rights activists.
‘The disaster is man-made. But there is a tendency to blame nature for this,’ said Sheepa Hafiza, head of the rights group Ain o Salish Kendra, at a news briefing on Wednesday.
Authorities say hundreds of homes were buried by mud and rubble sent cascading down hillsides after monsoon rains dumped 343 millimetres (13.5 inches) of water on the southeast of the country in just 24 hours.
Disaster Management Department chief Reaz Ahmed said teams had begun to assess the full extent of the damage left by two days of incessant rains in the Chittagong hills, which cover one tenth of the country’s landmass.
Authorities have opened 18 shelters in the worst-hit hill districts, where 4,500 people have been evacuated.
The monsoon rains came two weeks after Cyclone Mora smashed into Bangladesh’s southeast, killing at least eight people and damaging tens of thousands of homes.