Police say up to 25 people were injured after a bus smashed through a highway fence and plunged into a roadside ditch.
At least 19 people have been killed and up to 25 were injured in Bangladesh after a bus smashed through a highway fence and plunged into a roadside ditch in Bangladesh.
The police said they suspected the driver lost control at 8am (02:00 GMT) on Sunday and hit the railing of a recently built major expressway, sending the bus, carrying more than 40 passengers, tumbling nine metres (30 feet) into the ditch.
“The death toll has risen to 19. At least 12 people were critically injured. They have been sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital in the capital,” local police chief Masud Alam told AFP news agency after the crash in the southern district of Shibchar.
The death toll could rise further as some of the injured passengers are in critical condition, said Anowar Hossain, police official of Shibchar, where the crash occurred.
The city is 80km (50 miles) from the capital Dhaka.
Road accidents are frequent in Bangladesh due to old and badly maintained vehicles and roads, as well as poorly trained drivers. Fatal road accidents have been on the rise despite the government saying it will reduce them by 50 percent by 2030.
In July last year, #nearly 400 people were killed and nearly twice that number were injured in more than 300 road accidents in the two weeks around the Eid al-Adha holidays in Bangladesh.
According to the Bangladeshi passengers’ welfare association, a record 9,951 people were killed in road accidents in Bangladesh last year.
Fire at Rohingya camps
A fire that left thousands of Rohingya refugees homeless in Bangladesh camps was a “planned act of sabotage”, says a panel investigating the blaze.
Nearly 2,800 shelters and more than 90 facilities, including hospitals and learning centres, were #destroyed in the fire on March 5, leaving more than 12,000 people without shelter, officials said.
More than a million Rohingya live in tens of thousands of huts made of bamboo and thin plastic sheeting in camps in the border district of Cox’s Bazar, most having fled a military-led crackdown in Myanmar in 2017.
“The fire was a planned act of sabotage,” senior district government official Abu Sufian, head of a seven-member probe committee, told Reuters news agency by phone from Cox’s Bazar on Sunday.
He said the #blaze broke out in several places at the same time, proving it was a planned act. He said it was a deliberate attempt to establish supremacy inside the camps by community-based gangs. He did not name the groups.
“At least five places caught fire within a short period of time. […] The day before the fire, there were shootings and clashes over dominance in that camp. Some people in the camps restricted refugees from dousing it, allowing the fire to burn the shelters,” Sufian said.
Residents said the incident is a sign of a growing turf war between the gangs in the world’s largest refugee camp.
“We recommended further investigation by the law-enforcing agency to identify the groups behind the incident,” he said, adding that the report was based on input from 150 witnesses.
The panel also recommended the formation of a separate fire service unit for the Rohingya camps. Each block of Rohingya camps needs to be widened to accommodate fire service vehicles and the construction of water cisterns, and the camps should use less flammable materials in shelters, among other recommendations.
Mohammed Rezuwan Khan, a refugee rights activist in the camp, said the fire “was not accidental, but intentional – set by one of the gangs”.
“The gangs, so-called freedom fighters, from within Rohingya have been taking advantage of our vulnerability … They don’t want us to survive peacefully as there are masterminds from overseas behind them,” he said.
Surging crime, difficult living conditions and bleak prospects for returning to Myanmar are driving more Rohingya to leave Bangladesh by boat for countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, putting their #lives at risk.
United Nations data shows 348 Rohingya are thought to have died at sea in 2022 – one of the deadliest years for the mostly Muslim refugees.