Monsoon landslides kill 100 in Bangladesh


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The Independent Online

Up to 1OO people have been killed in Bangladesh and many more are missing after monsoon rains triggered landslides in the south of the country. About 150,000 people have been left stranded.

Rains described as the heaviest in living memory have lashed the area around Chittagong for the past three days, dislodging large chunks of earth, which have crushed homes. The area, formerly known as the Chittagong Hill Tracts, is made up of hills and forest and borders India to the north and Burma to the east and south. Many people live at the foot of the hills despite warnings from the authorities and rules about where settlements can be developed. But land is at a premium and government regulations are often ignored. Officials claim to have travelled around the area in recent days with loudspeakers, warning people about the dangers of landslides.

Deaths from monsoon floods are common in Bangladesh, a delta nation with a population of 160 million.

The monsoon rains are essential for agriculture but are often deadly, triggering widescale flooding in the low-lying country.

Chittagong, the country's second largest city, received almost 16in (406mm) of rain in a 12-hour period on Tuesday.

The official number of dead is 94 but is likely to rise. The army is helping to search for the missing and organising relief operations for the homeless. Rescue efforts have been badly hampered by the flood waters.