At least 57 people, including four soldiers, have been killed in landslides triggered by torrential rainfall in three hilly districts of southeastern Bangladesh, officials said on Tuesday. The rescue and relief teams are finding it hard to reach the remote areas hit by the natural disaster.
Due to a tropical depression, heavy rains lashed Bangladesh early on Monday resulting in huge chunks of mud sweeping over several thatched houses in the hilly districts. Military spokesman said several soldiers died while clearing the debris on a highway following the landslide.
"So far two officers and two soldiers have died, and two others remain missing in the incident," Karim told the Associated Press. "The death toll could rise since many areas remain cut off," Reaz Ahmed, a senior disaster management official, said.
Officials said at least 26 people died in the Rangamati district. Another 12 died in Chittagong, the Associated Press reported citing Ekkator TV. At least 10 people lost their lives in Bandarban, fire official Tarikul Islam said. Traffic movement in Dhaka and Chittagong remained disrupted for several hours due to torrential rain.
Weather official Bazlur Rashid told AFP that Rangamati district received 343 millimetres (13.5 inches) of rain on Monday. "It is still going on today," he said. The police said the death toll is expected to rise and telephone and transport to the remote parts of the affected areas had been cut.
"Some of them were sleeping in their houses on hillsides when the landslides occurred... We've evacuated some of the affected villagers to schools and other safe places," district police chief Sayed Tariqul Hasan told AFP.
Earlier this year, Cyclone Mora had hit the south-east coast of Bangladesh claiming lives of at least eight people and damaging thousands of homes.
The South Asian country is prone to cyclones, floods and landslides. Citizens in hilly regions usually ignore the warnings of the Bangladeshi authorities against constructing houses on slopes.