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Officials: 95 dead after heavy rain, floods in Bangladesh

By Farid Ahmed, CNN
June 28, 2012 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
A woman mourns relatives killed in a landslide in Chittagong, Bangladesh, on Wednesday.
A woman mourns relatives killed in a landslide in Chittagong, Bangladesh, on Wednesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • As many as 95 people have been killed, officials say
  • The flooding has cut the region off from the rest of the country
  • Runways are under water at the Shah Amanat International Airport

Dhaka, Bangladesh (CNN) -- Rescue crews were frantically trying to find survivors possibly buried in debris Wednesday after heavy rain and floods washed through southeastern Bangladesh in the past few days, killing 95 people, police and local officials said.

Most of the victims died in landslides caused by torrential rains and flash floods in the port city of Chittagong, the tourist destination of Cox's Bazar and the hilly Bandarban district.

"We've recovered 95 bodies so far, and the death toll may go up as many people, as claimed by the relatives, are still missing," Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong Mohammad Serajul Huq Khan said.

Khan, who serves as the administrative chief of all districts in Chittagong region, said rescuers from the army, police and fire services are assisting in the operations, which were taking place in many of the affected areas.

"Most of the people died in landslides, while drowning and lightning were the other causes of death," Khan said. "At least 37 died in Cox's Bazar, 36 in Bandarban and 22 in Chittagong city."

Local officials said the flooding cut off the region from the rest of the country, shutting down roads, rail and air routes and communications.

Chittagong's Shah Amanat International Airport, one of three international airports in the country, was closed as floodwaters submerged the runway Tuesday.

Airport manager Rabiul Islam said all flights were diverted to Dhaka as the runway was still inundated.

Tens of thousands of people in the districts were either stranded or displaced, officials said.

"We're marooned even in the city. ... Most of the roads are under water, and in some places, it is waist-deep," said Abdul Momen, a businessman in Chittagong.

Aslam Alam, secretary of the Disaster Management and Relief Division of the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management, said in Dhaka that many people were evacuated and the government was sending food relief to the affected areas.

Crews were trying to restore communications to the region, Alam added.

In 2007, at least 126 people were killed in a landslide in Chittagong.

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