DHAKA, July 12 (Xinhua) -- A total of 131 people lost their lives in incidents of natural disasters in about a dozen Bangladesh districts in the past three weeks, a ministry spokesman said Thursday.
SM Golam Kibria, senior spokesman of Bangladesh's Ministry of Food and Disaster Management, told Xinhua that most of the deaths were caused by landslides, others by wall collapses, lightning strikes and floods.
"The death toll of rain-triggered devastating landslides and floods in the last week of June in three southeastern hilly districts -- Chittagong, Cox's Bazaar and Bandarban -- rose to 122 after the final count," he said, quoting the "Latest Flood Situation Report" of the ministry's National Disaster Response Coordination Center (NDRRC).
Kibria said that 9 people lost their lives in floods in the country's five districts so far this month.
The NDRRC report noted that there was a huge loss of property in about a dozen Bangladesh districts where over 1 million families have so far been the victims of floods.
Floods caused by the incessant rain inundated many areas and disrupted communications in the districts.
The overall situation of the floods mostly triggered by monsoon rain is getting back to normal and unlikely to get worse any more, said Mokhlesur Rahman, an official of the NDRRC.
He said the prevailing flash flood situation in Bangladesh is unlikely to get worse as water levels in many major rivers are falling. The official could not provide information immediately about how many hectares of crop land were fully or partially destroyed by the flooding but said that flood waters damaged shrimp farms and paddy crops to a large extent.
According to the officials, water-borne diseases like diarrhoea are spreading in the flood-hit areas though the government takes required measures to support the flood victims.
Experts said Bangladesh, bordering on the Bay of Bengal, has become more vulnerable in recent time to climate change related problems like cyclones, flooding, as its capacity to protect its people and land is feeble.
In 2007, two rounds of floods in Bangladesh killed more than 1, 000 people.
Rain-triggered landslides are also almost frequent in Bangladesh's hilly areas during the heavy monsoon that usually runs from June to September. Despite frequent tragic incidents of landslide, tens of thousands of people of the impoverished South Asian nation are still reportedly living at the foothills and hill- slopes at different parts of hilly districts.
At least 49 people including five army personnel were killed in devastating landslides caused by heavy rains in Cox's Bazaar and Bandarban in June 15, 2010. Earlier in June 2007, some 123 people were killed in a devastating landslide in Chittagong.