Heavy rains, landslides kill 51 in Bangladesh

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh - More than 50 people have been killed in landslides in southeast Bangladesh after three days of rains that triggered flash floods and severed transport links, officials said Wednesday.

The army has been deployed to help with search and rescue efforts in the affected hill region of Chittagong, said the region's chief administrator, Sirajul Haq Khan, who warned that the toll could rise.

According to Khan, at least 26 people died in a series of landslides and flash floods in and around Chittagong port and the district of Cox's Bazar.

In neighbouring Bandarban district, 25 bodies have been recovered from multiple landslide sites, local police chief Saiful Ahmed said.

"One family has lost 12 members," Ahmed told AFP, adding that rescue operations had been delayed by heavy monsoon rains.

Chittagong port received 40 centimeters (16 inches) of rain in a single 12-hour period on Tuesday.

Flights in and out of Chittagong's Shah Amanat International Airport have been suspended since Tuesday afternoon.

Train links between Chittagong and the rest of the country were also severed after a railway bridge collapsed due to a rain-triggered flash flood.

In recent years monsoon rains have caused deadly landslides in Chittagong, home to five million people, killing hundreds and prompting the government to tighten rules on where development can take place.

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