People evacuated over fear of landslides triggered by rain from cyclone Bulbul
The Chattogram District Administration evacuated over 70 families from Motijharna hill in the port city on Saturday evening to avert possible loss of lives in landslides triggered by rain from cyclone Bulbul.
Thousands of people live on or around 29 hills in Chattogram, which are susceptible to landslides.
The evacuation was led by executive magistrates Forkan Elahi, Abdus Samad and Ahsan Murad.
"We have evacuated 70 families from the risky slopes of Motijharna hill in the Lalkhan Bazar area to avert possible casualties from landslides caused by rain from cyclones Bulbul. The evacuation was started at 7pm and ended at 8:30pm. We have also completely shut down at least 50 shops in hilly areas," said Ahsan Murad, executive magistrate and assistant commissioner (AC) of Patenga circle.
The local administration used loudspeakers to ask people to move to shelters or other safe places on Friday, said Abdus Samad, executive magistrate and assistant commissioner of land (Agrabad Circle). "We forcefully evacuated the people who did not want to move from the hills," he added.
The people have been shifted to the local cyclone shelter.
There are allegations that some politically influential people built and rented out shanties to poor people on the hill slopes.
The catastrophic landslide of 2007, which claimed 127 lives, prompted the formation of two committees. Their 36 recommendations to avert possible loss of lives from landslides include evacuating people from risky areas and measures to rehabilitate them. However, most of these recommendations have been ignored.
Landslides triggered by heavy rain in and around Chittagong city claimed over 250 lives between 1999 and 2014. The death toll includes the 127 who lost their lives in a landslide in 2007.
The disasters took place in the Lalkhan Bazar, Motijharna, Tankir Pahar, Batali Hill, Akber Shah and Pahartali areas.