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Floods and landslides plague Bangladesh

100 people killed as rescue efforts are hampered by heavy monsoons

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh, | June 28, 2012

Floods and landslides in Bangladesh killed at least 100 people as rescue efforts were hampered by heavy monsoon rains, officials said.

Rescue crews forged through red mud and pounding rain Thursday to search for survivors and victims after heavy rains triggered landslides that buried settlements in Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and Bandarban in the southeast of the country Tuesday and Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

School teacher Rais Uddin told the Journal residents mistook the landslide for wild elephants that move through the area.

"We thought elephants were on the rampage again," he said. "That's why nobody came out immediately. It took us a while to realize that a mudslide had happened."

Indigent people often settle at the foot of hills that experts said have become unstable because of illegal logging, the Journal said.

Jasim Uddin, deputy fire chief in Chittagong, said residents were warned to leave the hills at the start of the monsoon season in June.

"Nobody listened," he told the Journal. "Perhaps they had nowhere to go."

So far, 22 bodies have been recovered in Chittagong, 37 in Cox's Bazar and 33 in Bandarban, Uddin said.

The southeast region was cut off from the rest of Bangladesh Thursday after storm surges swept away bridges and culverts, officials said. Air travel at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong was halted because of water on the runway.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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