At least 9 women died from "heatstroke" as over 35,000 people gathered to collect iftar essentials in Satkania upazila of Chittagong this morning, police said.
Nine of the deceased were identified as Rashida Akter, 50, Hasina Akter, 40, Rina Begum, 30 and Saki Begum, 22, of the upazila, Jyotsna Begum, 25, Anwara Begum, 60, of Chandanaish upazila, Nur Jahan, 18, Bulu Akter, 35, and Tuntuni Begum, 13, of Lohagara upazila.
A large number of people gathered at a small space to collect iftar essentials at Ghatiadanga village, possibly leading to suffocation, said Superintendent of Chittagong Police Nur-e-Alam Mina.All the nine women died on the spot, he told our Chittagong staff correspondent adding that the primary cause of the death might be heatstroke while one or two of them might have died in a stampede.
A number of people were injured in the incident. Six of them were admitted to Satkania Upazila Health Complex.
Meanwhile, Md Imtiaz, a physician of the health complex, told our correspondent that the victims who were undergoing treatment there bore injury marks like that sustained in stampede.
AKM Emran Bhuiyan, additional superintendent of Chittagong police (South Zone), said people started gathering since last night as the authorities of Kabir Steel Re-rolling Mills (KSRM) were preparing for distributing iftar items and zakat among 10,000 people.
Md Elias Hossain, deputy commissioner of Chittagong, said the incident might occur due to "mismanagement of the authorities."
"It primarily seems that the space as per the proportion of people was very small and this might be the cause of the incident," he added.
The district administration has formed a five-member committee to probe the incident and asked the body to submit a report by seven working days, he said.