101 killed in Bangladesh landslide

Updated: 2007-06-13 01:26

A terrible landslide which happened on Monday morning in Bangladesh's southeastern Chittagong city claimed 101 lives, according to official statistics issued Tuesday.

Several places in and nearby Chittagong city were affected by the disaster, among them Sikanda village.

Nine people from two families were killed in landslide in the village. Seven bodies were found on Monday, and the other two found on Tuesday.

Zafar Bhandhari, an old man of about 70, looks very sad and is sitting motionless and silent, for he lost one son, one daughter- in-law and three grandchildren in the landslide on Monday.

He declined to speak to media people. What he wanted to do is asking God to return his dear ones.

Kamla Banu, a middle-aged woman of the same village, was killed along with her three children in the landslide, leaving four other minor children behind her.

Abdur Swapan, who is working in Chittagong city and whose parents-in-law live in the village, told Xinhua that the villagers were very cooperative when the rescue workers came.

The villagers took the rescue team to the site where the landslide happened.

"The road was almost inaccessible Monday because of the downpour," Abdur said.

He said the villagers helped the rescue workers find the place, and dig out the bodies.

Mohammad Ishaq, a young man of the village, said they migrated from an island called Sandwip in the coastal area of southern Bangladesh.

Their houses and land property were eroded by the expanding river, which forced them to migrate to the hilly areas.

"Our sufferings will never end. We came here with the hope to live a better life, but you see the situation now," He said.

"The government should do something for us, like giving us some land, but they did not," he added.

Because of shortage of cultivable land, most of the villagers in Sikanda village are working in the nearby cantonment or as day laborers in other farmlands.

Sikanda village, surrounded by hills from three sides, has no road, no power supply, no school, no medical facility. After the sunset, the village is almost in complete darkness.

Chittagong administration blamed the hill (mud) cutting for the landslide. Although Bangladesh's environment activists have strongly protested against it, but to no effect.

Chief Adviser of the Bangladeshi caretaker government Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed flew into this landslide-struck city Tuesday morning, visited the affected areas and distributed relief goods among the distressed people.

"Our first task is to rescue, treat and help rehabilitate the affected people," he said while talking to reporters at the worst hit Kacharigona, adjacent to Chittagong Cantonment.

The chief adviser warned that the government will take action against those who cut the hills.

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