Hill cutting may trigger landslides in Bandarban

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News Desk

Many residential areas of Bandarban town and other upazilas are spending days in fear as the monsoon rains usually cause landslides every year.

At least 21 people were killed and hundreds of houses damaged due to landslides in Bandarban in the last five years. Most of the fatalities were reported from Lama and Ruma upazilas.

According to official data, 168 people lost their lives and 227 were injured in landslides in three hill districts, including Bandarban, in 2017. Some 3,075 houses were completely destroyed and 36,637 were partially damaged due to landslides.

Meanwhile, the communication on Bandarban-Thanchi route was restored following a halt due to a landslide, thanks to joint efforts by the Army and the Fire Service.

The landslide took place between Nilgiri and Jiban Nagar on Friday morning, Thanchi UNO Abul Mansur confirmed the matter. He said a large stone fell onto the road and severed road connectivity.

This year, landslides may cause severe damage due to the continuous rains of the last two days. The authorities have asked the locals to go to safer places.

Md Emdadul Haque, officer-in-charge of Bandarban Meteorological Observatory, said that 96 millimetres of rainfall was recorded in Bandarban in the last 24 hours.

Chief Scientific Officer of Bandarban Soil and Water Conservation Centre Mahabubul Islam said that as a result of excessive hill cutting, the protective layer above the soil is removed and the inner soft part comes out.

“For this, cracks are formed in the hills through erosion. In this situation, due to the heavy rainfall of the monsoon, water enters the cracks of the mountain and the mountain collapses,” he added.

Officials say the number of vulnerable families living in the hills of Bandarban city is 144, but it is over 30,000 across seven upazilas due to unplanned settlements at the foot of the hills.

Sheikh Abdullah Al Mamun, deputy collector of the District Administration, said that preparations were made to deal with the disaster. “Instructions have already been given to the executive magistrate and UNO of each upazila to evacuate the residents who are at risk of landslides to safe places.”

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