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Thousands cut off by deadly landslides

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-16

Rescue workers were struggling Wednesday to reach thousands of people cut off by deadly flash floods and landslides in south-eastern Bangladesh. At least 55 were killed and thousands more left homeless, officials said.

AFP- Bangladeshi rescue workers battled blocked roads and floods Wednesday to distribute emergency aid to remote communities hit by landslides that have killed 55 people.
   
Dry food rations and water purification tablets were given to thousands of people left homeless in the country's southeastern tip, which borders Myanmar, after the worst rains in decades struck Tuesday, officials said.
   
"The death toll in my district is now 50 and at least 34 people are injured, some critically," Cox's Bazaar district administrator Giasuddin Ahmed told AFP.
   
Another five people were killed in neighbouring Bandarban district, police said.
   
"It was the worst rain in three decades and was particularly devastating as 12 centimetres (4.5 inches) of rain fell in just three hours," Ahmed said, adding that hundreds of houses had been destroyed.
   
Flash floods in neighbouring Myanmar have left about 40 people missing in an area near the border, an official in the military-ruled country said.
   
"The water level rose because of torrential rain," the official, who did not want to be named, told AFP.
   
"About 40 people were missing and about 2,000 people were relocated to nearby schools because of the flood in Maungdaw town in Rakhine state," he said.
   
Bangladesh's flood warning centre said Wednesday that heavy rain had stopped in the southeast, where more than 24 centimetres fell in 24 hours.
   
Flood waters started to recede and rescue workers cleared debris from roads and accessed the hardest-hit area, Teknaf, which is home to hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.
   
Around 15,000 Rohingya refugees living in camps -- both legal and illegal -- around Teknaf have been affected by the floods, Firoz Salauddin, the government's spokesman on Rohingya issues told AFP.
   
Described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities on Earth, thousands of Rohingya from Myanmar's northern Rakhine state stream across the border into Bangladesh every year.
   
"We have ordered repairs for the houses of the legal refugees," he said, but declined comment on what would happen to the illegal refugees -- whom Bangladesh maintains must be sent back to Myanmar.
   
Landslides triggered by heavy rains are common in Bangladesh's southeastern hill districts where thousands of poor people live on deforested hill slopes.

Date created : 2010-06-16

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