Landslide death toll in Bangladesh hits 53

Bangladeshi army personnel clear the area after landslides struck in the southern coastal area of Cox's Bazar
Massive landslides triggered by overnight torrential rains killed 53 people, burying some alive in Bangladesh's sea resort town of Cox's Bazar flattening shanties and makeshift structures.

Four separate landslides hit Cox's Bazar and Bandarban areas burying a number of people and leaving scores of others missing as heavy rains hampered rescue efforts, police said.

"According to our information so far, at least 49 people including six soldiers have been killed and a number of others are buried alive in the landslides in four places in Cox's Bazar and Bandarban", a police official at the north-eastern Chittagong port city said.

Officials said 12 people were still missing and feared that the toll could go up as a lot of people are still buried in the mudslide.

Officials and witnesses said the rains loosened small hill tops and mudslides came crashing downhill burying makeshift houses and a military camp.

The mudslides, police said, hit Ukhia and Teknaf sub-districts, bordering Myanmar and home to thousands of ethnic Rohingya refugees catching the people asleep. At least 25 people were killed in these areas.

Police said hundreds of bamboo shacks were washed away by mudslides and flash floods caused by heavy rains.

Mudslides also washed away army barracks in Cox's Bazar proper where 18 people including six army men were killed. Some army personnel were still reported trapped as the landslides buried the camp completely including 20 vehicles parked there.

"We have not been able to start the rescue operations as rain is hampering efforts and most of the roads are flooded," police said.

The authorities called out army and fire brigade for help.

A depression in the Bay of Bengal caused heavy downpour in the hilly and forested region, triggering landslides. Weather officials have forecast further rains in the region.
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