Destruction, debris mar Bangladesh mudslide rescue; 140 dead

Officials would not say whether there were people still missing, even as the death toll doubled overnight and it was reported that more districts were hit by landslips.

Rescuers struggled on Wednesday to reach villages hit by massive landslips that have killed at least 140 people while also burying roads and cutting power in southeastern Bangladesh, officials said.

To clear paths for rescue workers, villagers joined firefighters and soldiers in cutting fallen trees and clearing mud and debris unleashed by the landslips on Tuesday in five hilly districts. But rescuers have been unable to get heavy machinery to the remote areas to help dig through the debris, military spokesman Rezaul Karim said.

“We are using speedboat to reach some of the affected spots. It is almost impossible to reach many of the affected places by road,” said Shah Kamal, secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management.

Officials would not say whether there were people still missing, even as the death toll doubled overnight and it was reported that more districts were hit by landslips.

Some villagers were taking refuge in government shelters, but officials could not say how many. With cellphone services and power cut off in the region, information was slow to trickle out.

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