Lightning, rain-triggered flooding and landslides have killed at least 16 people in Bangladesh as parts of the South Asian country were deluged by heavy monsoon rain, officials said on Saturday.
Thirteen were killed in lightning strikes while the rest died in
flooding and landslides, prompting the authorities to evacuate
hundreds of residents to emergency shelters in flood-hit areas of the
Asif Anam, a local government official in the western Paban district,
said four people, including three members of a family, immediately
died after being hit by lighting as they processed raw jute at a
marshland during the inclement weather.
The electrical storm left a fisherman and three farmers dead in
north-eastern Mymensingh district as they were out in the open during
the disturbance, said police officer Firoj Talukder.
Officer Munshi Asaduzzaman said three day-labourers died in a
lightning strike as they were unloading a banana-laden truck in
western Chuadanga district.
In May 2015, at least 40 people were killed during a thunderstorm
that swept parts of Bangladesh.
Meteorologists say people's lack of
knowledge about keeping safe in electrical storms cause the high
number of fatalities due to lightning.
Two people were killed in the south-eastern Rangamati district after
their homes were buried under chunks of mud that fell from an
adjacent hill due to heavy rain in the last couple of days, disaster
management official Balinur Begum told dpa by phone.
The body of one man was retrieved from a river after two people went
missing in a flash flood in the Bandarban hills, while two others
were killed during thunderbolts in north-eastern Sunamganj district,
Three others were rescued in the port city of Chattogram after they
became trapped inside a home that was also buried because of the
Flooding of vast areas in the south-eastern hill districts of
Khagrachhari, Rangamati and Bandarban have forced many residents to
rush to emergency shelters.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that her government had taken every
preparation to tackle the flooding.
More than 1,300 people were evacuated in Rangamati district alone,
Begum said, adding that rescuers have been working hard to bring the
flood-affected people to 131 state-run shelters from the remote hills
Parts of Bangladesh have been experiencing heavy rain because of the
active monsoon since Monday, when two more people were killed in
landslides in Rangamati.
Bangladesh's national weather service has forecast heavy rainfall in
the next 24 hours, with an end in sight for Sunday morning. It warned
of more landslides in hilly areas and urged residents to move to
Deaths from mudslides during the monsoon are common in Bangladesh.
More than 150 people were killed in a series of rain-triggered
landslides in the southern hilly districts of Chittagong, Rangamati
and Bandarban in June 2017.
Meanwhile, several thousand residents in northern parts of the
country were marooned as major rivers flowed at dangerously high
levels, due to heavy rainfall upstream in the Indian states of Assam,
Meghalaya and West Bengal.
Bangladesh's Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre warned that the
water level may continue to rise further.
Bangladeshi rickshaw pullers make their way through heavy rainfall at a water-logged street during the monsoon season in Dhaka yesterday. AFP