At least 156 people have been killed due to heavy monsoon rains and landslides in southeast Bangladesh and India, authorities said on Wednesday. The officials have warned that the death toll could rise further as rescuers search for bodies.
Densely populated Bangladesh is battered by storms, floods and landslides every rainy season. These latest casualties come weeks after Cyclone Mora killed at least seven people and damaged tens of thousands of homes.
Reaz Ahmed, head of the department of disaster management said landslides hit three hilly districts in Bangladesh's southeast early on Tuesday, killing 100 people in Rangamati, 36 in Chittagong and six in Bandarban. He added that fresh landslides on Wednesday killed one person in the district of Khagrachari and two in the coastal town of Cox's Bazar.
The town bordering Myanmar is home to thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees and was just beginning to recover from Cyclone Mora.
Ahmed said many people were still missing in the landslide-hit districts and the death toll includes four soldiers trapped by a landslide during a rescue operation in Rangamati.
However, Shah Kamal, the secretary of Bangladesh's disaster ministry, said there had been no rain on Wednesday and rescue operations were in full swing. "It is a great relief. Some areas in the district are still cut off but people are being moved through navy boats," he told Reuters.
The weather officials in Bangladesh have forecast light to moderate showers accompanied by gusty or squally wind during the next 24 hours in places like Chittagong.
At least 11 people were killed as incessant rains flooded major cities in Mizoram and Assam, which border Bangladesh. Nine bodies have been retrieved by the authorities in Mizoram. But, the state's urban development minister said that about seven people were still missing after landslides caused several homes to cave in.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office said in a statement that the country is ready to support Bangladesh with search and rescue efforts if needed.