POST TIME: 20 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Landslides in Chattagram

Landslides in Chattagram

Just a few days before the Eid  holidays at least 12 people, including four of a family, were killed and three injured in separate incidents of landslides triggered by heavy rainfall in Rangamati and Cox’s Bazar districts. Among them, 11 were killed and three injured in Naniarchar upazila under Rangamati district in three separate incidents at Darmachandpara, Boro Poolpara, and Hatimara, while one was killed at Moheshkhali upazila in Cox’s Bazar district.

Illegal hill cutting is rampant in Chattagram and adjoining areas. In the winter and dry season, the dishonest people used to cut the hills for collecting soil and levelling the land for construction works. Despite prohibition on hill cutting in order to protect environment, a gang of dishonest people is engaged in cutting the hills in collusion with some corrupt public officials, sources concerned said. Some land grabbers occupied the hills at Cox's Bazar and cut those rampantly. They also cut the trees on the hills.

In the last decade or so, landslides or mudslides have become one of the most frequently disasters happening in Chattagram. Dozens of people lost their lives and it is high time that we came to a permanent solution to this problem. Bangladesh is one of the countries which are most vulnerable to climate change, and in these countries natural disasters such as these have become all too common. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the population in the hilly districts is increasing rapidly and in no way are the hills safe for habitation especially in their current state. Cutting of hills and rampant deforestation in order to make way for the population, has led to the areas becoming too dangerous for human habitation. Moreover, the increasing amount of rainfall that Bangladesh has seen in the recent years has made it well nigh impossible to keep these places safe. Hills in these areas are constituted of crumbly soil and become vulnerable after heavy rainfall if the surface is not covered with plants.

What have made thing worse is the fact that despite their familiarity with the dangers of monsoon season, local authorities have found it difficult to carry out rescue operations during bad weather. Experts believe that the government could do much more to prevent the loss of life by evacuating people living in the hilly areas during the monsoon season.

There are allegations that politically influential individuals build slums on the hill slopes to rent them out to low-income people. According to district administration, more than 50,000 people of low-income group live on the slopes of 30 hills in Chattagram city and about one lakh people live on hill tops and slopes in Cox’s Bazar town, and these people are mostly exposed to landslide.