Landslides remain most substantial damaging, recurrent hazards in Cox’s Bazar: UNDP
The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed an agreement for a two-year project for landslide risk management in Cox’s Bazar. The agreement was signed by UNDP Bangladesh Resident Representative Stefan Liller and Norwegian Ambassador to Bangladesh Espen Rikter-Svendsen on behalf of their respective organisations, at the latter’s office on Wednesday. UNDP and Norway have a long and successful history of working together, Espen Rikter-Svendsen said at the signing ceremony. Read: Japan, UNFPA join hands to provide $3.7 million assistance to Rihingyas in Bhasan Char, host communities in Noakhali “Our previous pilot initiative to strengthen landslide monitoring and early warning systems in the camps and host communities has helped save a lot of lives,” he said, adding that “We want to build further on that through this project.” “With our technical expertise on early warning systems and UNDP’s expertise in disaster risk management, I believe this project would be able to effectively reduce the consequences of natural disaster.” “As one of our major contributors, we thank the Norwegian government for being with us as our core partner,” UNDP Bangladesh Resident Representative Stefan Liller said at the signing. “Landslides remain one of the most substantial damaging and recurrent hazards in Cox’s Bazar,” Stefan Liller said. “In 2019, rainfall-induced landslides affected more than 50,000 refugees with 6,300 temporarily displaced, 10 fatalities and 42 injured.” Read: Digital devices increase women's capacity to contribute to livelihoods: UNDP envoy “It also affects the host community, especially the poor and landless people who settle in the foothill areas. It is estimated that around one million people are currently living with landslide risks in Cox’s Bazar District,” the UNDP Resident Representative pointed out. The two-year project will be addressing the risk by enhancing existing landslide warning systems, strengthening disaster management capacities of local government, humanitarian and first responders, and implementing community-led nature-based solutions in the most vulnerable communities. The embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission Silje Fines Wannebo, Senior Advisor Morshed Ahmed and advisor Zohora Farzana Ahmed Bipasha were present at the signing along with UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative Van Nguyen, Assistant Resident Representatives Prasenjit Chakma and Sarder M Asaduzzaman and Head of Communications Md Abdul Quayyum.
Southwest China quake leaves 30 dead, triggers landslides
At least 30 people were reported killed in a 6.8 magnitude earthquake that shook China’s southwestern province of Sichuan on Monday, triggering landslides and shaking buildings in the provincial capital of Chengdu, whose 21 million residents are already under a COVID-19 lockdown. The quake struck a mountainous area in Luding county shortly after noon, the China Earthquake Networks Center said. Sichuan, which sits on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau where tectonic plates meet, is regularly hit by earthquakes. Two quakes in June killed at least four people. The death toll rose to 30 as the search for trapped people continued Monday night, state media said. Earlier, authorities had reported 7 deaths in Luding county and 14 more in neighboring Shimian county to the south. Three of the dead were workers at the Hailuogou Scenic Area, a glacier and forest nature reserve. Also read: Strong undersea quake causes panic in western Indonesia Along with the deaths, authorities reported stones and soil falling from mountainsides, causing damage to homes and power interruptions, state broadcaster CCTV said. One landslide blocked a rural highway, leaving it strewn with rocks, the Ministry of Emergency Management said. Buildings shook in Chengdu, 200 kilometers (125 miles) away from the epicenter. Resident Jiang Danli said she hid under a desk for five minutes in her 31st floor apartment. Many of her neighbors rushed downstairs, wary of aftershocks. “There was a strong earthquake in June, but it wasn’t very scary. This time I was really scared, because I live on a high floor and the shaking made me dizzy,” she told The Associated Press. The earthquake and lockdown follow a heat wave and drought that led to water shortages and power cuts due to Sichuan’s reliance on hydropower. That comes on top of the latest major lockdown under China’s strict “zero-COVID” policy. The past two months in Chengdu “have been weird,” Jiang said. Also read: 7.3 earthquake hits north Philippines, causes some damage The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a magnitude of 6.6 for Monday’s quake at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles). Preliminary measurements by different agencies often differ slightly. China’s deadliest earthquake in recent years was a 7.9 magnitude quake in 2008 that killed nearly 90,000 people in Sichuan. The temblor devastated towns, schools and rural communities outside Chengdu, leading to a years-long effort to rebuild with more resistant materials.
31 dead in India flash floods & landslides
At least 31 people have died in flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains in four Indian states since Friday night, officials said on Sunday. In the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh alone, 22 people have been killed in the past 36 hours and several others reported missing after bridges and houses were swept away. "The deaths were reported from the districts of Mandi, Kangra and Chamba. Ten people are also said to be missing," a senior disaster authority official told the media. "Mandi is the worst-hit district, where 13 people have died so far," the official added. Local TV channels aired footage of rescue operations being carried out in Himachal. However, at many places, these operations have been hampered by heavy downpours. Read:India landslide death toll reaches 47 Indian opposition Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took to social media to condole the deaths and urge the Himachal government to provide relief to the affected. "There has been heavy destruction in Himachal Pradesh due to landslides, cloudbursts and floods," Gandhi wrote on Facebook this morning. Apart from Himachal, four deaths have been reported from the neighbouring hilly state of Uttarakhand and the eastern state of Odisha. One person died in Jharkhand. "In Uttarakhand in particular, a series of cloudbursts across the state triggered flash floods and landslides that have claimed four lives so far," a police officer said. In the eastern Indian states of Odisha and Jharkhand, five people have been killed in the past 24 hours. "Four of the deaths occurred in Odisha," another official said. Landslides and flash floods due to cloudbursts and heavy rains are common in northern India in the monsoon months of July to September.
Met office predicts more monsoon rains across country
Amid worsening flood situation in parts of Bangladesh, the meteorological department forecast more downpour in 24 hours commencing 9am on Monday due to active monsoon over Bangladesh. Also read: Flood: Waters start receding in hard hit north-east districts “Light to moderate rain or thunder showers accompanied by temporary gusty wind and lightning flashes is likely to occur at most places over Rangpur, Rajshahi, Dhaka, Mymensingh, Khulna, Barishal, Chattogram and Sylhet divisions with moderately heavy to very heavy falls at places over Rangpur, Mymensingh, Barishal, Chattogram and Sylhet divisins,” according to a regular Met Office bulletin. Day and night temperature may remain nearly unchanged over the country. At the same time, with a temporary gusty wind, its speed may increase from 30 to 40 kph. Meanwhile, the Met Office recorded the highest 242mm rainfall in Chattogram in 24 hours till 6am on Monday. Also read: Flooding to get worse as more rainfall headed for key region Due to heavy rainfall, landslides may occur at places over the hilly regions of Chattogram and Sylhet divisions, said the met office in their latest warning.
12,000 families in Cox’s Bazar living with imminent risk of landslides
“I am forced to live with the risk of death from a landslide in the foothill. where else a day laborer like me would lie down after work?” said Ariful Islam, a resident of Lighthouse area in Cox’s Bazar. Like Ariful there are at least 12,000 families who are living on the sloping foothills, with an elevated risk of landslide, according to Cox’s Bazar Forest and Environment Conservation Council. Given the average family size in Bangladesh, that could mean around 50,000 people at risk. Cox’s Bazar, a highly landslide-prone zone of the country where every year casualties are reported from this disaster during the monsoon season (June–September) triggered by heavy rains. Also read: Ctg landslides: 185 families evicted for their own good from foothills
Heavy downpour floods Chattogram city; 4 killed in landslides
Four people were killed in landslides amid heavy monsoon rains in Akbar Shah area of Chattogram port city early Saturday. The deceased were identified as Shahinur, 32, Liton, 24, Imon, 14 and Mainul Akhter, 20. Wali Uddin Akbar, officer-in-charge of Akbar Shah Police Station big a chunk of mud from a hill demolished a house on the slope of the hill at Barishal Ghona around 1 am, leaving five people injured. Later, they were taken to Chattogram Medical College and Hospital where doctors declared Mainul and Shahinur dead. Besides, Imon and Liton died on the spot when a big chunk of mud from an adjacent hill collapsed on their house around 3 am at Lakecity Bijoynagar area of the city. READ: Rain-fed landslides, flooding kill at least 19 in Brazil Heavy rains that started three days ago inundated many parts of the city. According to the Patenga Met office, 48.8 mms of rainfalls were recorded in the past 24 hours till 6 am on Saturday. The rains will continue till Saturday, it said. Local administration said the authorities concerned issued a warning on Friday and asked the residents living in the hill slope to vacate their places immediately. Moreover, nineteen shelters have been kept ready in different parts of the city including Agrabad, Bakolia, Kattoli and Chandgaon Circle to tackle the situation.
Brazil mudslide death toll is at 117, police say 116 missing
The death toll from floods and landslides that swept down on the mountain city of Petropolis rose to at least 117 on Thursday and local officials said it could still rise sharply, with 116 more still unaccounted for. The Rio de Janeiro state government confirmed the rising loss of life, with many feared buried in mud beneath the German-influenced city nestled in the mountains above the city of Rio de Janeiro. Torrents of floodwaters and mudslides dragged cars and houses through the streets of the city Tuesday during the most intense rainfall in decades. One video showed two buses sinking into a swollen river as its passengers clambered out the windows, scrambling for safety. Some didn’t make it to the banks and were washed away, out of sight. Survivors dug through the ruined landscape to find loved ones even as more landslides appeared likely on the city’s slopes. A small slide Thursday prompted an evacuation but didn’t cause injuries. Also read: Brazil mudslides kill at least 94, with dozens still missing As evening came, heavy showers returned to the region, sparking renewed concern among residents and rescue workers. Authorities insisted those living in at-risk areas should evacuate. Rosilene Virginia’ said her brother barely escaped, and she considers it a miracle. But a friend hasn’t yet been found. “It’s very sad to see people asking for help and having no way of helping, no way of doing anything,” Virginia told The Associated Press as a man comforted her. “It’s desperate, a feeling of loss so great.” As some people tried to clear away mud, others began burying lost relatives, with 17 funerals at the damaged cemetery. Rio police said in a statement Thursday that about 200 agents were checking lists of the living, the dead and the missing by visiting checkpoints and shelters, as well as the city’s morgue. They said they managed to remove three people from a list of missing after finding them alive in a local school. Also read: 5 killed in Christmas morning gunfire in northeast Brazil “Every detail is important so we can track people,” said Rio police investigator Elen Souto. “We need people to inform the full name of the missing person, their ID, physical traits and the clothes that person was wearing.” Petropolis, named for a former Brazilian emperor, has been a refuge for people escaping the summer heat and tourists keen to explore the so-called “Imperial City.” Its prosperity has also drawn residents from Rio’s poorer regions and the population grew haphazardly, climbing mountainsides now covered with small residences packed tightly together, often in areas made more vulnerable by deforestation and inadequate drainage. The state fire department said 25.8 centimeters (just over 10 inches) of rain fell within three hours on Tuesday -- almost as much as during the previous 30 days combined. Rio de Janeiro’s Gov. Claudio Castro said in a press conference that the rains were the worst Petropolis has received since 1932. “No one could predict rain as hard as this,” Castro said. More rain was expected through the rest of the week, according to weather forecasters. Castro added that almost 400 people were left homeless and 24 people were recovered alive. They were fortunate, and they were few. Lisa Torres Machado, 64, said “the hand of God” spared her family from tragedy. “A little room was left at my mom’s house and she hid there with my two sisters and brother,” Machado, a resident of Petropolis for three decades, told the AP. “I can’t sleep. I still can’t believe what’s happening. We lost all our friends. The stricken mountain region has seen similar catastrophes in recent decades, including one that caused more than 900 deaths. In the years since, Petropolis presented a plan to reduce risks of landslides, but works have advanced only slowly. The plan, presented in 2017, was based on analysis determining that 18% of the city’s territory was at high risk for landslides and flooding. Local authorities say more than 180 residents who live in at-risk areas were sheltering in schools. More equipment and manpower was expected to help rescue efforts on Thursday. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro expressed solidarity while on a trip to Russia. Petropolis’ city hall declared three days of mourning for the tragedy. Southeastern Brazil has been punished with heavy rains since the start of the year, with more than 40 deaths recorded between incidents in Minas Gerais state in early January and Sao Paulo state later the same month.
Death toll passes 150 in Nepal and India floods
More than 150 people have died after heavy rainfall triggered flash floods in two Indian states - Uttarakahand and Kerala - and parts of Nepal. Homes were submerged or crushed by rocks swept into them by landslides, reports BBC. At least 50 people, including five from a single family, died in Uttarakhand some 77 people died in Nepal, with dozens more missing in both nations. Read: Floods, landslides kill at least 28 people in southern India Rains further south in India's Kerala state also triggered deadly floods, leaving another 39 dead there. Six more bodies were recovered on Wednesday in Uttarakhand, taking the death toll in the Himalayan state, a popular tourist spot, to 52. Schools have been closed and religious and tourist activities suspended in the state. The Ganges burst its bank in Rishikesh and the popular Nainital region was severely affected. Uttarakhand, which normally sees up to 30.5mm (1.2in) of rain for the whole of October, recorded 328mm in a 24-hour period this week. But the Indian Meteorological Department says the rainfall is now easing. Rainfall in Nepal may not be so quick to ease. The worst-affected areas are Panchthar district in east Nepal, and Ilam and Doti in west Nepal. Read: 21 dead in India floods & landslides
Floods, landslides kill at least 28 people in southern India
Officials predicted more rain as the death toll from floods and landslides in the southern Indian state of Kerala rose to 28 on Monday. Since the ferocious downpours began last week, swollen rivers have decimated bridges, and vehicles and homes have been swept away. Several dams were nearing full capacity. K.J. Ramesh, one of India’s top meteorologists and the former chief of the weather agency, said the increased rainfall was linked to climate change and warmer oceans. “This is definitely a sign of things to come,” he said. Also read: 21 dead in India floods & landslides At least 23 people died in Kottayam and Idukki districts, among the worst hit. More than 9,000 people have taken shelter in over 200 camps across the state, officials said. The heavy rainfall resulted from a low-pressure area that formed over the southeastern Arabian sea and Kerala. It was expected to ease Monday, but the Meteorological Department warned that new rain-bearing winds would hit the region starting Wednesday, bringing more precipitation. Heavy rainfall is also predicted across several northern and eastern Indian states. Also read: Heavy rains, landslides leave 18 dead in south India The National Disaster Response Force and the Indian army deployed teams in Kerala to help rescue efforts. “I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.
21 dead in India floods & landslides
At least 21 people have been killed and more than a dozen others missing in flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy post-monsoon showers in the southern Indian state of Kerala, officials said Sunday. The deaths occurred mostly in Kottayam and Idukki districts, where several houses were swept away following flooding and landslides Saturday, rendering hundreds of people homeless. Indian armed forces have been carrying out rescue operations alongside the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the local police, since Saturday afternoon. "So far, 21 bodies have been recovered from under the debris but over a dozen people are still missing. Though the showers have subsided, bad weather is hampering rescue operations in some areas," a senior state government official told the local media. Read: Bangkok braces for possible flooding as rains continue Kerala's Chief Minister Pinayari Vijayan held a high-level meeting on Saturday itself and asked officials of the two districts to ensure that all the displaced people were shifted to makeshift camps. "Masks, sanitisers, drinking water, medicines should be made available in camps," local media quoted the Chief Minister as telling the officials. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Moditook to social media to condole the deaths. "It is saddening that some people have lost their lives due to heavy rains and landslides in Kerala. Condolences to the bereaved families," he tweeted Sunday. The country's main opposition Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is a lawmaker from the state of Kerala, also tweeted his condolences to the families of those killed in the deluge. Read: Faridpur flood: Over 2000ha cropland submerged for nearly four weeks "My thoughts are with the people of Kerala. Please stay safe and follow all safety precautions," Gandhi tweeted. Kerala and the western Indian state of Maharashtra witnessed the heaviest monsoon rains this year. In Maharashtra, over 100 people died in landslides in July. Three years ago, in August 2018, over 400 people died in Kerala in what was touted as the state's worst flooding in a century.