Death toll in mudslide rises to 84 in southeastern Bangladesh

DHAKA, Jun 12, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --Death toll in the mudslide triggered by unprecedented rain falls in Bangladesh's second largest southeastern port city Chittagong rose to 84 with more bodies found earlier Tuesday.

The authorities fear the toll might rise further as at least 15- 20 others were still missing.

Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong Moklesur Rahman when contacted by phone told Xinhua that the rescue operation of the missing people has been restarted Tuesday morning by Bangladesh Army and fire service workers.

He said, the death toll might go up as 15-20 people were still missing. They were residing on hill slopes. Local people are claiming that these people were missing.

"Rescuers are digging the mud to find out the missing people. I hope we would be able to dig out the bodies today," Rahman said.

Chittagong experienced the ever heaviest rainfall of 267 mm in 24 hours ending Monday evening and the most part of the city and adjoining areas were still under knee deep water. Moreover, power supply remained suspended causing woes to the people.

Television footage showed people could not even shift their valuables and the furniture have gone under water.

The heavy rain was caused by the active monsoon, which the weather office said might continue for two more days.

The mudslide buried 84 people alive and wounded over 100 others. The worst hit areas by the mudslide were Hathazari and Sitakunda sub-districts, near the cantonment of Chittagong, which have many hillocks, with most of the deaths.

The injured persons are being treated at military hospital and medical college hospital.

Head of the caretaker government of Bangladesh Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed will fly to Chittagong Tuesday to visit the disaster area.