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At least 48 killed in heavy-rain triggered landslides in Bangladesh

AT LEAST 48 KILLED IN HEAVY-RAIN TRIGGERED LANDSLIDES IN BANGLADESH

At least 48 people have been killed in landslides triggered by strong rains in three hilly districts of southeastern Bangladesh, officials and media reports said Tuesday.

Large chunks of mud swept over many thatched homes after the rains began early Monday across the South Asian country due to a tropical depression.

Military spokesman Rezaul Karim said several soldiers were killed as they were clearing debris and mud on a highway after a landslide.

"So far two officers and two soldiers have died, and two others remain missing in the incident," Karim said by telephone.

Officials said at least 26 people died in the worst-hit district of Rangamati. Twelve died in Chittagong, Ekattor TV station reported. Fire official Tarikul Islam in Bandarban said at least 10 people died there.

Police also warned that the death toll would likely rise as emergency workers reached remote parts of the affected area, where telephone and transport links had been cut.

"The recovery work is still going on. The death toll could rise as many areas still remained cut off," the head of the Department of Disaster Management Reaz Ahmed said.

Ahmed said disaster response teams had been deployed to the affected areas to reinforce recovery work.

"We have not been able to reach many of the affected places. Once the rains are over, we'll get a full picture of the damage and get the recovery work in full swing," he said.

Densely populated Bangladesh is battered by storms, floods and landslides every rainy season.

The latest fatalities came weeks after Cyclone Mora lashed Bangladesh's southeast, killing at least seven people and damaging tens of thousands of homes.

In 2007, about 130 people were killed in a landslide in Chittagong in the southeast.

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