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At least 156 dead, many missing, thousands of houses destroyed in monsoon landslides
At least 156 people have died and many more are are still missing following floods and landslides in SE Bangladesh and adjacent parts of India early this week.
Heavy rain on Monday that accompanied the arrival of the Southeast Monsoon dumped 75 to 150mm in the area with locally heavier falls to 250mm between Monday and Wednesday. The Rangamati Hill District, 50km inland from Chittagong, was worst hit when 300mm produced landslides that killed 100 people and destroyed 5,000 houses early Tuesday morning, with a further 36 reported dying in Chittagong. Landslides have caused deaths in nearby parts of Bangladesh, and over the border in the Indian state of Mizoram and farther north in Assam. Clearing weather on Wednesday allowed relief efforts to begin, though these were reported to be stretched.
This heavily populated area at the head of the Bay of Bengal, at the delta where the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers flow to sea, frequently suffers from torrential cyclonic and monsoonal rain. Uncontrolled deforestation and land grabs denude many hills and slopes where the poor have little alternative to live, and are reluctant to leave homes and possessions when bad weather strikes and authorities ask them to. [Reuters] [Accuweather] [Al Jazeera] [Weather Underground]
At the end of May, Tropical Cyclone Mora damaged or destroyed over 20,000 houses in Myanmar as it passed [IFRC] [Democratic Voice of Burma], before making landfall at Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, killing at least eight and damaging over 50,000 houses in Chittagong and Cox's Bazar alone [IFRC]. Much of the area struck by Mora is the same as that hit by this event. On 25-26 May, heavy rain caused landslides in Sri Lanka that left 203 dead, 95 missing and nearly 10,000 houses damaged or destroyed [AWN 29 May] [ECHO].