Three people including a child, have died in a landslide in the Chittagong District of Chittagong Division, Bangladesh, on Saturday 30 December 2017. The three, named as Mohamed Didar, 38, Amir Ali, 37, and Mohamed Sakib, 10, were engaged in hill-cutting (removing soil from the side of a hill, usually for sale), when a section of the hillside collapsed onto them, crushing them to death, at about 2.30 pm local time. Several other individuals are reported to have been involved in the hill-cutting operation, but fled the scene without offering assistance.
The approximate location of the 30 December 2017 Chittagong landslide. Google Maps.
Hill cutting without a specific permit is illegal in Bangladesh, but has become a major industry in the Chittagong Hills, where the law is widely flouted. The unregulated nature of this industry means that few, if any, safety measures tend to be implemented, and accidents are frequent. The industry also has major environmental impacts, destroying farmland and making the area mote prone to landslips and flash floods that destroy homes and infrastructure. The majority of those involved in the actual hill cutting are poor farmers and day labourers, with limited access to other means of income, but the profits from the industry go to wealthier individuals involved in the sale of the soil, and there is speculation that the weak law-enforcement in the are is due to the involvement of senior political figures in the industry.
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