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Landslides death toll rises to 156, rescue operations called off

  • Published at 11:32 am June 16th, 2017
  • Last updated at 09:58 pm June 16th, 2017
Landslides death toll rises to 156, rescue operations called off
The death toll from landslides in Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and the three Chittagong Hill Tracts districts has risen to 156 as firefighters recovered four dead bodies from different areas of Rangamati on Friday. With the newly-found bodies, the death toll in Rangamati alone rises to 114. Tuesday's landslides killed 32 in Chittagong, six in Bandarban, two each in Khagrachhari and Cox's Bazar. The Rangamati district administration, at a press conference in the afternoon, has called off the regular rescue operation in the district. From now on, the firefighters will conduct the rescue operation based on specific information. Earlier in the day, two bodies had been recovered in Rangamati, raising the death toll in the fatal landslides to 154. One body was recovered in the morning while the other was found in the afternoon on Friday, reports our Rangamati correspondent Bijoy Dhar. However, the identities of the deceased have not been ascertained. Confirming the death toll, Rangamati Fire Service Deputy Assistant Direction Didar Alam said: “We have recovered two more bodies as of Friday afternoon. A total of 112 bodies have been recovered so far in Rangamati.” Three bodies, including the one belonging to army soldier Md Azizur Rahman, were recovered on Thursday. Azizur had been missing since Tuesday when the landslides occurred. Five other army men were killed and 10 others were injured in the landslide in Rangamati’s Manikchhari area. The district administration, which asked people living in risky hill areas to move to safer places on Thursday said a further seven to eight people are still missing. An emergency monitoring cell had been opened at the deputy commissioner’s office. The rescuers comprising members of the army and fire service continued their operations on Friday as well. The number of deceased in Bandarban and Khgrachhari remained unchanged. Six people died in Bandarban while two others in Khagrachhari. No more bodies were found in Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar as well. Chittagong saw the deaths of 32 people with a maximum 27 people dead in Rangunia, where two people remained unaccounted for. The rest died in Chandanaish, Banshkhali and Raozan upazilas. In Cox’s Bazar, a man and his daughter were killed in a landslide at Shatghoriapara village under Teknaf upazila early Wednesday.

Road communication still halted in Rangamati

Traffic from and to Rangamati is still badly affected as seven routes linking the district with Bandarban, Khagrachhari and Chittagong remain closed. Emdad Hossain, executive engineer of the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) in Rangamari, said that roads caved in at 37 spots with heavy damage in 145 locations across the district. “It will take at least two more days to help light vehicles ply the roads and highways here,” he said, adding that it will take two more weeks to complete the repair works.

Pumps closed as Rangamati runs short of fuel supply

Many filling stations have been shut down over the last couple of days for the lack of fuel supply. A few shops, where fuel is available, are selling octane at Tk180-Tk200, which is more than twice as much as the original price. The price of diesel, however, has remained unchanged. Ismail Hossain, owner of Hill View Petrol Pump, told the Dhaka Tribune that they had closed the outlet as there was no fuel supply. The fuel could not be transported following the disruption of road communications, he added. The fuel crisis has also led to an abnormal rise of auto-rickshaw fare in the district town. Selim, an auto-rickshaw driver, said there was no other way for him but to increase the fare because he had to buy the octane at Tk180.

Vegetables prices shoot up

The prices of vegetables have also skyrocketed as an aftereffect of the snapping of road communications in the hill districts. Ridge gourd was selling at Tk80, eggplant at Tk100, pumpkin at Tk40, spiny gourd at Tk120, cucumber at Tk120, carrot at Tk60, pointed gourd at Tk60, arum at Tk70, long bean at Tk60, potato at Tk60, and pepper at Tk160 per kilogram in the kitchen markets of Rangamati town on Thursday noon. A mobile court, led by Executive Magistrate Syed Mahbubul Haque, has been conducting drives at kitchen markets to keep the prices of vegetables and essentials in check. The mobile court will continue its drive until the prices become stable, said the executive magistrate. When contacted, our Bandarban and Khagrachhari correspondents said road communication was smooth there with essential prices being normal.