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Asia-Pacific

Thousands homeless in flood-hit Bangladesh and Myanmar

media Army personnel load bodies into a truck after a landslide in Cox's Bazar Reuters

Rescuers are scrambling to provide aid to the thousands of homeless people who survived davastating landslides in western Myanmar and neighbouring Bangladesh Thursday.

The heavy rains killed 46 people Wednesday in Rakhine state of Myanmar, breaking a record of more than 33 centimetres. Fifty-five people were left dead in Bangladesh a day earlier by the worst rain in decades, according to officials.

About 12,000 people were now receiving emergency relief in makeshift camps, Bangladeshi officials said.

Dry food rations and bottles of water were also handed out in the hardest-hit area of Bangladesh, Teknaf, as workers cleared debris from roads. The place is home to hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

Across the border, landslides swept away huts on hillsides in Myanmar, with floods reaching as high as 60 centimetres in some areas after several days of torrential rain.

A Red Cross official in Myanmar’s Rakhine State says he fears the death toll will rise, as rescuers still face difficulties reaching some remote areas.

According to UN officials in Myanmar, the area is at further risk because the rainy season has just begun.

Landslides caused by heavy rains are common peril in Myanmar owing to deforestation, and in Bangladesh’s south-eastern hill districts, where thousands of poor people live on denuded hill slopes.
 

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