Landslides kill 7 in Cox’s Bazar
At least seven people, including five Rohingyas, died in landslides triggered by heavy rains in Cox's Bazar yesterday.
The landslide hit blocks G-37 and 38 of the Rohingya camps in Ukhiya upazila at 10:00am.
The dead were identified as Dilbahar, 42, and her son Shafiul Alam, 9, of block G-37, and Dilbahar, 25, Abdur Rahman, 25, and Ayesha Siddika, one-year old, of block G-38.
Shamsud Douza Nayan, additional commissioner of Cox's Bazar's Relief, Rehabilitation, Repatriation Commission (RRRC), told The Daily Star heavy rain caused the landslides in blocks G-37 and G-38 of camps 10 and 18, killing five people. One infant of camp-18, who could not be identified till the filing of this report, died due to floods caused by rain.
Apart from the deaths in the camps, two locals died in landslides at Moheshkhali and Teknaf upazilas.
Mahmudul Hasan, sub-inspector of Huyaikkong police outpost under Teknaf police station, told The Daily Star that a local named Rakim Ali, 45, died when his makeshift home on a hill slope in Teknaf's Monirghona was devoured in a landslide at 11:00am yesterday.
Md Abdul Hai, officer-in-charge of Moheshkhali Police Station, told The Daily Star that a 14-year-old girl in Choto Moheskhali area died after being buried by a landslide around the same time.
The Cox's Bazar met office recorded 134 mm rainfall in the last 24 hours since Monday midnight to Tuesday noon. According to its forecast, heavy rain is likely to continue in greater Chattogram, raising the possibility of more landslides.
Over one lakh people live on hills and their slopes in greater Chattogram, including Chattogram, Cox's Bazar, Rangamati and Bandarban.
Politically influential people grabbed the hills, built makeshift homes and rented them to lower-income people at low prices.
In Chattogram, the district administration identified 30 landslide-prone hills, on which around 10,000 people live. Every monsoon, the authority makes efforts to relocate the people to safer places, but the initiative goes in vain largely due to the poor and unhygienic conditions of the shelters.
Around 170 people died in massive landslides in June 2017 in Chattogram, Rangamati and Bandarban districts, disconnecting regional communication for days.
A high-powered committee, formed after 127 people died in a landslide in the port city's Motijarna in 2007, put forward 30 recommendations, including permanent rehabilitation of the people exposed to landslides, afforestation on hills so they can ward off landslides, stopping hill cutting, and building fences around the hills to protect them from grabbers.
It has been 13 years since the recommendations were forwarded. However, none has been executed yet.