Numerous landslides caused by heavy monsoon rains have buried thousands of homes and claimed lives of at least 152 people in Bangladesh since Monday, June 12, 2017. Police say many of the dead are from poor tribal communities living in traditional homes in the remote district of Rangamati. The Disaster Management Department chief Reaz Ahmed said the landslides were the worst in the country's history and warned the death toll would rise as rescuers reach more remote areas.
Renewed mudslides in south-eastern Bangladesh have claimed additional lives and further damage to homes and infrastructure. Collapsing hillsides and heavy flooding are now estimated to have killed over 150 people across five districts. Rescue and recovery teams continue to face challenging conditions, and the risk of additional landslides remains high, the UN Resident Coordinator for Bangladesh reports.
Road and communication networks between the cities of Chittagong, Rangamati, and Bandarban remain cut off due to flooding and debris. Hundreds of homes have been buried in mud and rubble, including over 5 000 homes in the Kawkhali Upazila of Rangamati district. Local markets do not have reliable access to food and other supplies, especially in remote areas, while telephone communications remain sporadic. Fresh landslides on June 14 have expanded the affected area, killing two people in Cox's Bazaar district, and one in Khagrachari district.
Rangamati, Chittagong and Bandarban districts remain the most severely affected, and are facing acute fuel, electricity and water shortages. In Bandarban District, Lemujuri and Kalaghata upazilas have been the most severely damaged. In Chittagong District, Rangunia and Chandnaish upazilas have also experienced severe flooding. Rangamati district, however, may have been the worst damaged so far. Rangamati is estimated to have suffered over 100 deaths since June 13, primarily in Sadar, Kawkhali, Kaptai, Bilaichhari and Jurachhari upazilas.
800 families in Rangamati and 500 in Bandarban have taken refuge in emergency shelters, including schools and public buildings. Many displaced residents have also received corrugated iron sheets to build emergency shelters. Local authorities have pledged to continue this support until families can safely return home.
382 medical teams across the affected region are working to provide emergency health care to the victims. At least 110 persons have been admitted to local hospitals. Maternal and Child Welfare Centres are open and receiving patients.
Bangladesh is battered by heavy rain and storm every monsoon season, but exceptionally heavy rainfall, combined with deforestation, triggered landslides that few had anticipated, Al Jazeera reports:
Video courtesy Al Jazeera
Following the advent o South West monsoon on June 12, flash floods and landslides are also affecting neighboring Indian states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Mizoram, as well as Myanmar.
In Assam, floods caused by swelling rivers have been affecting the districts of Lakhimpur, Darrang, and Hailakandi, with five deaths reported since May 13. Guwahati, Assam's capital, is under severe water-logging. Flood alerts have been issued for five districts by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority.
Mizoram remains cut-off from the rest of India since May 12 due to landslides. ECHO reports eight to ten people have been killed and six others are missing following flash floods in regions bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar which occurred during the night of May 11. Media report that as many as 350 houses have been submerged in different parts of the state.
The Indian Meteorological Department has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall in the four states over the next five days.
Featured image: Deadly landslides hit Bangladesh after heavy monsoon rains - June 2017.