Bangladesh’s cardinal has expressed his sorrow for the victims of the devastating landslides in south-east Bangladesh triggered by heavy monsoon rains. According to the latest reports, at least 144 people have died in a series of landslides in the districts of Rangamati, Bandarban, Chittagong and Cox's Bazar. The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers reach out to many areas affected by the violent rains.
"I'm really shocked. Most victims are tribals living in the hills,” Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka told AsiaNews. “I am praying for those who lost loved ones,” he said, adding, “All my affection goes out to them."
Following torrential rains, tons of mud and debris slid from the hills, sweeping away homes on their way. The worst affected areas are the hilly districts, where thousands of people build their homes on the slopes.
Card. Patrick believes that the natural disasters are also an effect of climate change. "People need to be more aware," he said. In an appeal to "government, political parties, and non-governmental organizations,” Bangladesh’s first cardinal insisted “they have to work for the victims.” “No one has to politicize the landslide tragedy," he stressed. The prelate announced that Caritas would also be involved in rescue operations.
Father Dominic Sarkar, parish priest in Bandarban, reported the death of "Rara Tripura, a Catholic of just 18," and the injuring of "at least ten other Christians." His parish is located in a remote area and rains have made the situation even more tragic. "Communication links to other districts have been cut,” he said. “Many people are still missing. We need help for the poor because those who live on the hills are really in need," Fr. Sarkar said. (Source: UCAN)