Living with Landslide Risks in Khagrachari

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News Desk 

Landslide is a recurring phenomenon during the rainy season in CHT. Despite knowing the risk factor, people stay at the edge of hills due to fear of losing a space of shelter. In Khagrachari, more than 744 families are living on the slopes of 40 hills in nine upazilas of Khagrachhari amid danger of landslides, which are quite common during monsoon. Locals complained that local administration remains indifferent about constructing makeshift settlements on hill slopes and have been cutting hills round the year. Moreover, now they have become active as the monsoon has arrived.

According to local administration, adequate measures have been taken to mitigate casualties from recurring landslides, authorities conducted drives in several areas and public announcements were made to inform the locals. The local administration has adopted a zero tolerance policy to stop cutting of hills in order to prevent landslides.

In the last few days, continuous rains have triggered landslides in different areas of Khagrachhari town including Sabujbagh, Shalbagan, Comilla Tila, and Kalabagan areas, creating anxiety among families living on the foot of the hills. Two mud houses have collapsed recently due to landslides, said locals. Besides, several houses were also damaged but no casualties were reported.

Although there are announcements from different corners, the residents of the areas are not evacuating. On the other hand, people living in the areas said that they had no alternative place to shift to, so they had to stay on the hill slopes despite the risk.

It has been felt that any big accident may take place anytime if the people living on the hills are not relocated. Khagrachhari municipality Mayor Rafiqul Alam said that the municipality and district administration were working to evacuate people living in the risky areas. Besides, shelters have been prepared and the district administration is working to raise awareness among local residents.

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