DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Searchers pulled out 15 bodies Thursday that had buried under mud and debris after landslides and floods caused by monsoon rains in southern Bangladesh, raising the toll to 106 deaths this week.
The landslides occurred mainly in remote villages with poor roads, making rescue work more difficult, and the flooding was disrupting communications. About 500 houses were washed away. More people may be missing, but officials said they don't know how many. Soldiers joined the search for the missing in three hard-hit districts and found 15 victims Thursday.
At least 41 died in Cox's Bazar, 41 in neighboring Bandarban and another 24 in Chittagong, mostly in landslides, the Disaster Management Ministry said.
Three days of torrential rain in the region of small hills and forests dislodged huge chunks of earth, which buried flimsy huts where families were sleeping late Tuesday and early Wednesday.
In Bandarban, 11-year-old Rafiqul Islam was the only survivor in his family because he was visiting another relative when mud buried his hut. His parents and three siblings died.
"The rain had kept me from returning home," the boy told The Associated Press.
Monsoon floods are common in Bangladesh, a delta nation of 160 million people.
Volunteers using loudspeakers warned people about the danger of landslides during the rains, said Jaynul Bari, a government administrator in Cox's Bazar.
Flood waters covered many roads and washed away a railway bridge, snapping road and rail links between Dhaka and the three districts. An airport in Chittagong was closed after floodwaters swamped its runway, but reopened Wednesday.
The government said relief workers were distributing rice and water to hundreds of displaced people.