Landslide-hit Rangamati hill-district still cut off from Dhaka

Landslide-hit Rangamati hill-district still cut off from Dhaka

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Dhaka – The people of Rangamati hill district, cut off from the rest of the country by roads due to unprecedented landslides, got some relief with resumption of partial supply of electricity and start of launch service, but they are yet to overcome the panic brought by the disaster on last Sunday as the rains are continuing.Local met office sources said a moderate to heavy rains are likely over the region and may trigger landslides again in the region putting lives of those living at the slopes of the hills at risk.
The rains are continuing again in the town since Thursday afternoon with intervals disrupting the normal lives and rescue operations in search of missing persons due to the severe landslides that left at least 110 people killed in Rangamati alone.
The rains also hamper the clearance of landslide’s debris from the roads blocking transport movement to other districts and disrupting the supply of fuel and food.
The electricity supply has partially been restored to Rangamati town from an alternative power line from another hill district Khagrachori Thursday night, after four days of the devastating landslides that made thousands of hilly people homeless.
The launch service has been started yesterday morning from Reserve Bazar to Kaptai from where on ward movement to other districts is possible. The start of launch service after the big gaps has got back some optimism in the minds of people of Rangamati and those who were stranded in the town from Sunday to move around.
The army and fire service yesterday rescued two dead bodies from under landslide debris as they continued their rescue operation for third day defying the rains in search of missing people in different slops of the hills. With this the number of victims stood at 110 only in Rangamati.
Executive magistrate in Rangamati Ikhtiaruddin Arafat confirmed that two dead bodies were rescued yesterday and the total number of victims in the district stood at 110.
He said about 2,100 affected people have taken shelters in 16 shelter centres in the town and they were given dried and cocked food.
Arafat, who is also control room in-charge, said the district administration is monitoring the markets to keep the prices of essential commodities under control.
The prices of some essential commodities including food grains and kitchen items specially fuel are increased due to shortage of supplies. On the other hand, businessmen incurred huge losses as many local fruits including jackfruit, banana and pineapple are rotten due to disruption of road communication.
The price of octane fuel has increased to almost double from Tk 90 to Tk 170, alleged Rupesh Chakma, a CNG driver.
“That’s why we are compelled to increase the fare of CNG, the only transport to move around,” he said to this correspondent who paid Tk 40 instead of Tk 20 to go to TV centre from Purasabha.
Visiting some shelter centres including TV and Radio centers it is found that many homeless people thronged in the centres and they expressed their satisfaction with supply of food. They however said that they are facing crises of water.
Md Shahid, who moved along with about 50 others from Chitakhola intersection to the shelter centre at TV centre following the lanslides, said he was going to collect drinking water from other places.
Nazma Begum, 35, said her husband went to the damaged home to search for rest of the valuables, if any. My tin-shed home has totally been gone under the debris f landslide. We have lost every thing including valuable items, she said.
Kazi Humayun Rashid, acting officer of met office in Rangamati, said they recorded 66.3 mm rains in the district in the previous 24 hours till 12:00pm.
Replying to a question, he said they had recorded the highest rainfall of 343.4mm in the district in Sunday that led to the severe landslides causing huge losses of lives and properties.
Meanwhile, minister for water resources Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud and secretary of ministry of hill tracts affairs Nobabikrom Kishore Tripura yesterday came to Rangamati and visited different landslides affected areas and held meetings with district administrative officials.
Presided over by deputy commissioner Manjarul Mannan, the meeting was  also attended, among others, by regional commander of Bangladesh Army Brigadier General Golam Faruque, director general of relief and rehabilitation Mohammed Solaiman, chairman of Rangamati District Council Bishwaketu Chakma and Chakma circle chief Barrister Raja Debashish Roy. – Staff Reporter

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