20 houses in Ctg hill destroyed; locals allege poor construction of protection wall
undefinedA body, pulled from the rubble and mud, being carried out by a rescue team at Batali Hill of Chittagong yesterday. Photo: Anurup Kanti DasStaff Correspondent, Ctg
At least 16 persons, including women and children, were killed as a portion of Batali Hill protection wall along with a huge chunk of earth fell on shanties early yesterday.
The victims used to live in a slum of nearly five hundred families on Bangladesh Railway land in the hill near Tigerpass Intersection.
Also, at least five people have been reported missing since the landslide and the wall collapse at about 6:00am. Many others were feared buried alive.
More than twenty houses at the foot of the hill were ravaged in the disaster, for what locals blame faulty construction of the wall.
Chittagong City Corporation was overseeing the project of the 360-feet-long wall and almost 300 feet has been com pleted. A 70-feet-long portion collapsed yesterday.
Four units of Fire Service and Civil Defence ran to the site in the morning to start rescue operation. Army engineering and medical cores joined them around 12:00noon.
By 4:00pm, eight bodies were recovered from under the rubble and mud.
Of them, five were identified as Rehana Begum, 35, her three daughters Sharmin, 20, Fatema, 8, and Tanjina, 2, and only son Azad, 10. Rehana’s husband Bachchu Mia confirmed the report.
The other three are Amjad, 40, his wife Razia Begum, 27, and daughter Sharmin, 12.
A person named Anwar Hossain was pulled alive and sent to Chittagong Medical College and Hospital.
Around 6:00pm, rescuers found bodies of Shafiul, 35, his wife Minu Akter, 30, daughter Sonia, 10, and son Minhaz, 6.
The team pulled two bodies identified as Sajjad and his sister Shaheda around 10:00pm. They along with their mother Hosne Ara were earlier reported missing.
Another two, identified as Shahinur, 18, and her mother Razia, were found early hours of today.
Fate of four missing persons — Selim, his wife Fatema and her two children Sagor and Shirin — were unknown.
The rescue operation continued today around 2:00am.
Locals said city corporation representatives led by Mayor Monjur Alam on Thursday afternoon visited the area and urged the slum dwellers to evacuate to nearby East Tigerpass Govt Primary School as living on hill slopes is risky in heavy rains.
Patenga met office recorded 132.2mm of rainfall in Chittagong in 24 hours until 3:00pm yesterday.
Kanu, a slum dweller, said the city corporation team had knocked down several shanties, including those of five families who fell victim to the incident, close to the wall.
Many families went to the school but some of them returned as there was not enough room.
The five families, too, came back to their damaged shanties and spent the night fixing only tin-roofs.
Monjur, who went to the spot around 10:00am, said he warned the slum dwellers the previous day and urged them to evacuate.
However, he added, the people will be taken to a safer place by arrangement under a coordination committee to be formed anytime soon.
About the allegation of faulty construction of the wall, the mayor said he would look into the matter.
He claimed, in the beginning of the rainy season the city corporation also asked residents of slums at the feet and the slopes of other city hills to relocate.
Chittagong Deputy Commissioner Foyez Ahmad, too, visited the spot.
A five-member probe body headed by Additional Deputy Commissioner (general) Ehsane Elahi was formed and given five days to submit a report.
Representatives from Bangladesh Railway, Chittagong City Corporation, police and Public Works Department are also on the committee.
Meanwhile, in the port city several low-lying areas including Muradpur, Sholoshahar, Bakalia, Chawkbazar, Kapashgola, Agrabad CDA residential area and parts of Halishahar were submerged following downpour in last three days.
Source Daily Star : http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=192440