Eight persons died and over 50 were missing after a massive landslide struck a camp of the Territorial Army on Wednesday night in Manipur’s Noney district, the defence ministry said. At least thirteen people were injured.
“So far 13 soldiers of [the] Territorial Army and 5 civilians have been rescued, while mortal remains of seven soldiers and one civilian have been recovered,” a release by the defence ministry said. “Full-scale rescue operations are in progress by columns of Indian Army and Assam Rifles.”
A company of the 107 Territorial Army was deployed at a construction site near the Tupul Railway Station, the Kohima-based public relations office of the Ministry of Defence said in a statement. The company was deployed for the protection of an under-construction railway line from Jiribam to Imphal.
The Territorial Army is India’s second line of defence after the Army. It is part of the Army and is expected to step in and assist the force during natural disasters and in civil administration duties.
“Massive landslide triggered by incessant rains caused damage to Tupul station building of ongoing Jiribam-Imphal new line project,” the Northeast Frontier Railway’s chief public relations officer told ANI. “Landslide also stuck the track formation, camps of construction workers.”
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh was in touch with the rescue teams, the Northeast Frontier Railway’s chief public relations officer said.
“Nineteen people are already rescued and being treated at Noney Army Medical Unit,” the official added. “Bad weather and fresh landslides are affecting rescue operations.”
The defence wing’s public relations officer said that the flow of Ijai river has been impacted due to the massive debris. A reservoir had been formed and it could inundate low-lying areas, PTI reported.
“As the condition is still developing and the future is unknown, the general public is hereby advised to take their own precautions, and especially ensure children do not come out near the river,” said Noney district’s deputy commissioner. “Whoever can evacuate are also advised to evacuate. Public are further advised to stay alert and be prepared for any assistance in case of rain condition deteriorate further.”
The advisory warned travellers against taking the National Highway 37 due to road blockages.
The Indian Army helicopters are on standby and will press into action after the weather is cleared.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said he spoke to the chief minister and the railway minister.
“A team of NDRF has already reached the spot and joined the rescue operations,” Shah wrote on Twitter. “Two more teams are on their way to Tupul.”
Meanwhile, Singh reached Tupul to take stock of the situation.
Earlier in the day, Singh called for an emergency meeting to assess the situation of the landslide.
“Ambulances along with doctors have also been dispatched to assist in the operation,” he had said.
Toll rises to 152 due to floods in Assam
Twelve more persons died due to floods and landslides in Assam on Wednesday, taking the toll to 152, the state disaster management authority said.
The 12 deaths were reported from Cachar, Chirang, Barpeta, Biswanath, Darrang, Dhemaji, Golaghat, Kamrup, Lakhimpur and Nagaon districts. One of the victims was a minor.
The total number of persons adversely affected by the floods increased to 31,54,556 in the 26 districts of the state. On Tuesday, the figure was 24,92,913. The situation had improved on Monday as the population adversely affected by the floods was recorded at 21,52,415 in 22 districts.
Brahmaputra, Beki, Kopili, Barak and Kushiyara rivers were flowing above the danger level on Wednesday, PTI reported.
Cachar is the worst-affected district in the state with 14,30,944 persons in distress due to the floods. Silchar town in the district remained submerged in floodwaters, PTI reported.
“The town is submerged for the last 10 days due to a breach of dyke at Bethkundi, and work is underway to repair it,” Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli said.Priority is to provide clean drinking water and food to the residents of Silchar. Short-term public health measures must be adopted by the people to prevent the spread of diseases in the post-flood period.”
The state disaster management authority said that 280 relief distribution centres are active in the state. A total of 560 relief camps have been set up and 3,12,085 persons have taken shelter in them.
A total of 548 houses have been completely damaged, and 1,034 have been partially damaged due to the floods, reported PTI. Five embankments have been breached, while 177 roads and five bridges have been destroyed in the calamity.
Eighteen dead in Arunachal Pradesh
One more person died due to floods and landslides in Arunachal Pradesh, taking the toll in the state to 18, PTI reported on Thursday.
Body of a 27-year-old woman, identified as Momita Chakma, was recovered from debris in Papum Pare district at Chakma camp-1 on Wednesday, the District Disaster Management Officer Nima Tashi said.
Over the last few days, five persons have died in Papum Pare district adjoining Itanagar and one person in West Siang district due to the incessant rains in the region.
A search operation was resumed on Thursday to locate two persons who were swept away in floods in Huto village, Tashi said. The rescue operation had been suspended on Wednesday due to bad weather conditions.
An electricity tower collapsed due to flooding in Dikrong River, resulting in power outage in the Yupia area of Papum Pare district, PTI reported.
Water levels in Siang and Silley rivers in the East Siang district are flowing above the danger level and nearly 200 homes are submerged in the region.
After a portion of Pasighat-Pangin Road washed away, vehicular movement through Sille Korong Bridge has been interrupted. Vehicles were being diverted through an alternative, old route between the two places.
On Wednesday, the state Cabinet had directed the disaster management department to monitor the situation, issue advisories and evacuate stranded persons.