Eight people died in a massive landslide in Manipur in the early hours of Thursday. As many as 45 people are feared to be trapped in the debris, according to Army sources.
The disaster took place in Noney district of the northeastern State destroying a railway construction camp at Tupul. The deaths of seven territorial army personnel were confirmed. At least four railway employees are missing. Initial reports said that at least 20 villagers, including children, are missing.
So far, 18 persons have been rescued. The injured were taken by helicopter to various government and private hospitals in Imphal. Rescue efforts by the police, the Army and personnel from the disaster response forces are on. The district administration has opened centres to supply relief materials and coordinate rescue efforts.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have spoken to Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and assured full support to the State. Mr. Biren called off his official engagements and rushed to Noney to inspect the rescue work. Manipur Governor La. Ganesan conveyed his deep condolences to the bereaved. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also mourned the loss of lives.
Mr. Biren said, “We have decided to give ₹5 lakh each as ex-gratia to the families of the dead and ₹50,000 each to those injured”.
The disaster response teams have carted away much of the debris which had blocked the river Ijai. The blockage had threatened to flood the nearby villages. Haulianlal Guite, Deputy Commissioner of Noney district, issued an advisory of a flood alert as the debris had created an artificial dam. People have been warned against going near the river banks.
The advisory said, “Due to the unfortunate landslide… where casualties are being reported and dozens buried alive, the flow of the Ijai river has also been obstructed by the debris, creating a dam-like storage condition, which if breached will wreak havoc to the low-lying areas of Noney district.”
The advisory also told travellers to avoid National Highway-37 due to multiple road blockages.
(With PTI inputs)