Landslides and floods kill 53 in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi army personnel clear the area in Cox's Bazar, on June 15, 2010 Most of the deaths have occurred in Cox's Bazar

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Landslides and floods triggered by heavy rain have killed at least 53 people in south-east Bangladesh.

Dozens of people are missing and a number of houses are buried under mud, the authorities say.

Most of the deaths have occurred in the beach resort of Cox's Bazar. Five deaths have been reported from neighbouring Banderban district.

Rescue operations are continuing but rains are hampering efforts.

The mudslides struck south-eastern coastal areas early on Tuesday morning.

Officials said several people, including seven soldiers, were still missing.

'Hampered'
Map

"There were landslides in at least five places on a 46km-long [28-mile] hill. They were caused because of the torrential rain," Cox's Bazar police chief Nibhas Chandra told the BBC.

Mr Chandra said it had been raining continuously for the past two days in the area.

"The rescue operation is hampered because of the mud that has blocked the roads. In some places, the road is inundated because of the heavy downpour."

Officials said thousands of people were trapped by the floods and that the toll was likely to go up.

Kamrul Ahsan, police chief of Banderban, told the BBC that "four members of a family living in a single house along the hill were entombed by a landslide in the early morning".

Mudslides are common during the rainy season in Bangladesh. The country has more than 200 rivers and is prone to severe flooding.

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