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Landslides kill 147 in Bangladesh, northeast India



At least 147 people have been killed in Bangladesh and neighboring regions of northeast India after heavy rains triggered a series of landslides and flooded swaths of land over the past two days, officials say.

The densely-populated Bangladesh is battered by storms, floods, and landslides every rainy season. The latest casualties come weeks after Cyclone Mora killed at least seven people and damaged tens of thousands of homes in the country’s southeast.

Landslides hit three hilly districts in Bangladesh’s southeast early on Tuesday, killing 98 people in Rangamati, 32 in Chittagong, and six in Bandarban, said Reaz Ahmed, the head of the department of disaster management.

Many people are still missing and the death toll could rise further as rescuers search for bodies, Ahmed told Reuters. The death toll included four soldiers who were trapped by a landslide after they joined the rescue operation in Rangamati, he said.

Bangladeshi firefighters search for bodies after a landslide in Rangamati, June 13, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Shah Kamal, the secretary of Bangladesh’s disaster ministry, said there had been no rain on Wednesday and rescue operations were in full swing.

“It is a great relief. Some areas in the district are still cut off but people are being moved through navy boats,” he told Reuters by telephone from Rangamati.

At least 11 people were killed in the Indian states of Mizoram and Assam, which border Bangladesh, as incessant rains flooded major cities.

Mizoram authorities had recovered nine bodies and around seven people were still missing, the state’s urban development and poverty alleviation minister said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office said in a statement the country was ready to support Bangladesh with search and rescue efforts if needed.

Two Bangladesh government officials said however that outside help might not be needed.

(Source: Reuters)

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