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Dhaka Tribune

A cry for help from Rangamati

Update : 21 Jun 2017, 04:15 PM
“Sohag was my closest friend in school. We lived in the same area in Vedvedi Notunpara. On that fateful day in the early morning, I heard a massive chunk of earth coming down from the adjacent hill on the house. I rushed to the spot with others to rescue the affected people. But I could not save Sohag. He died in front of my eyes,” Md Kawsar Alam, 12-year-old boy, also a resident of Vedvedi Notunpara of Rangamati, said. Kawsar witnessed the death of seven persons on June 13 caused by a massive landslide which claimed 115 lives in the district. Seven family members of Md Sohag including his mother Hazera Begum, sisters Ruma and Runa, three-year-old niece Nuria Aktar, and his cousin Sariful Islam died in the landslide. Fighting for life, his father Md Nabi Hossen, who cautioned locals from a mosque about landslide, died in a hospital in Dhaka after five days. Sohag was a class seven student of Al Mujadded-e-Alfesani Academy High School in Rangamati. Recounting the tragedy, Md Kawsar told the Dhaka Tribune: “I rushed to the spot as my grandfather’s house is also located near Sohag’s house. When I got there I saw Sohag trapped with his leg stuck under the door of his house. “Seeing me, Sohag begged for my help. Please help me, save my life, he said,” Kawsar recalled. “I went forward to help him, but the hill suddenly collapsed again, burying Sohag and his family. I could not save my friend,” said Kawsar as tears rolled down from his eyes. Md Ovi, a ninth-grader of the same school, said Sohag’s family could have survived if only the hill had not collapsed the second time. Only two, brothers of Sohag, could survive the landslide.Fire Service workers and volunteers run rescue and clearing operations in Rangamati. Photo taken on June 13 Dhaka Tribune Fire Service workers and volunteers run rescue and clearing operations in Rangamati. Photo taken on June 13 Dhaka TribuneAbdul Khalek, a neighbour of Shohag, said: “I asked Nabi and his family members to come out of the house but the landslide occurred in a blink of an eye and devastated everybody. “Nabi had alerted locals about the slide but could not save himself.” Basana Mallick was another victim who saw her loved ones dying in front of her eyes at Sonatonpara area of Vedvedi on the same day. The devastating landslides claimed her son Liton Mallik, daughter-in-law Chumki Mallik and their two years old son Ayush. Liton was the second among three brothers and a sister. He used to work in a shop. The bereaved mother told the Dhaka Tribune: “They (the couple) were sleeping beside my room. In the morning I heard a loud bang and a huge chunk of soil collapsed on their room. There was no sound. I shouted for my son but none answer from there. “All of my son's family is dead. My grandson is gone. It’s an unbearable pain,” said the mother while bursting into tears. After the accident, rescuers recovered the bodies, said Ratan Mallik, brother of Liton. The family chose to remain at home and not go to a shelter centre. “My mother has totally broken down,” said Ratan.
Also Read- No food, no water
Across Vedvedi, victims of the landslides were seen trying to collect their valuables from the damaged houses buried under mud. Farid Bhandari, 55, who has taken shelter at the Open University, said: “My house is totally destroyed. I have collected the fans and other materials from there and will take it to shelter centres.” “During day time I came back to my house for repair and then return to the shelter at night,” said Ruposi Tripura, another resident of the same area.

Rangamati-Chittagong road link likely to resume

Road communication between Chittagong and Rangamati is likely to resume on Wednesday as Roads and Highway Division of Rangamati constructed a temporary road in Shalbagan Police Camp area of under Shapchori union. Bangladesh Army and RHD are jointly working to restore the road link since it has collapsed during the landslide on June 13. Md Amdad Hossen, executive engineer of Rangamati Road Division, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We have filled the 100 meters gap of the Chittagong-Rangamati road Tuesday. The affected road has been filled with sand and bricks and transport system between Chittagong and Rangamati would resume today." CNG and other light vehicles like pickup van will use the newly made road on a test basis. No heavy vehicles would be allowed until further notice, he added.
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