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WEATHER REPORT
Bangladesh steps up search for landslide victims
by Staff Writers
Chittagong, Bangladesh (AFP) June 15, 2017


Heavy rains kill 3 in El Salvador
San Salvador (AFP) June 15, 2017 - Three people have died in El Salvador from heavy rains that have triggered a national flooding alert and caused rivers to burst their banks, the civil protection service said Thursday.

The intense precipitation ran through Wednesday night, "generating multiple incidents due to the high-saturation levels of the soil," the service said in a bulletin.

The deaths occurred in three provinces: in northeastern Cuscatlan, southeastern La Paz and western Ahuachapan.

One person died when a tree fell on him, another when a wall fell on his house, and the third in a traffic accident caused by the sudden rain that cut visibility.

At least 100 houses were flooded in the coastal town of La Libertad, prompting the evacuation of 40 families.

Emergency workers in Bangladesh on Thursday stepped up the search for victims of the country's worst ever landslides, with mounting claims that the disaster was made worse by unchecked development.

Rescuers found two more bodies, including that of a woman apparently washed away, taking the death toll from floods and landslides across southeast Bangladesh to 154.

"We think she was washed away by strong currents during Tuesday's landslides," local fire chief Didarul Alam told AFP.

"We have stepped up our rescue work in the five worst affected spots. But it's a huge struggle to dig through four feet (1.2 metres) of mud. Also villagers were not sure where the bodies were buried."

Emergency workers also found the body of a soldier missing since Tuesday, army spokesman Rashidul Hasan told AFP.

The landslides were the deadliest in the country's history, eclipsing the previous highest death toll of 127 a decade ago.

Bijoy Giri Chakma, an elected tribal leader in the hardest-hit district of Rangamati, told AFP the landslides were the worst he had ever seen, and blamed unplanned construction and the large-scale cutting of trees for the scale of the disaster.

"Trees have been felled indiscriminately, which loosens the soil. A lot of these hills are now completely barren," said Chakma.

His views chimed with those of local rights activists.

"The disaster is man-made. But there is a tendency to blame nature for this," said Sheepa Hafiza, head of the rights group Ain o Salish Kendra, at a news briefing on Wednesday.

Authorities say hundreds of homes were buried by mud and rubble sent cascading down hillsides after monsoon rains dumped 343 millimetres (13.5 inches) of water on the southeast of the country in just 24 hours.

Disaster Management Department chief Reaz Ahmed said teams had begun to assess the full extent of the damage left by two days of incessant rains in the Chittagong hills, which cover one tenth of the country's landmass.

Authorities have opened 18 shelters in the worst-hit hill districts, where 4,500 people have been evacuated.

The monsoon rains came two weeks after Cyclone Mora smashed into Bangladesh's southeast, killing at least eight people and damaging tens of thousands of homes.

South Asia is frequently hit by flooding and landslides in the summer with the arrival of the annual monsoon rains.

More than 200 people were killed in Sri Lanka last month when the monsoon triggered landslides and the worst flooding the island has seen in well over a decade.

WEATHER REPORT
Heavy rain, landslides kill at least 134 in Bangladesh
Chittagong, Bangladesh (AFP) June 13, 2017
Heavy monsoon rains and landslides have killed at least 134 people in southeast Bangladesh, burying many in their homes as they slept, authorities said Tuesday. Three young children from the same family were among those killed in the disaster, which comes just weeks after a cyclone battered the region and destroyed camps housing thousands of Rohingya refugees. Police warned the death tol ... read more

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