Landslides, heavy rain claim 27 lives

Landslides, heavy rain claim 27 lives

Landslides triggered by heavy rains claimed 27 lives, including those of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) personnel in Sikkim, even as flood situation in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh deteriorated with vast areas reeling under its impact.

Official sources in Gangtok on Sunday said that at least 21 bodies, including those of the ITBP and the BRO personnel, were found while eight persons were missing following flash floods and landslides in remote areas of North Sikkim.

Army and IAF personnel have launched rescue operations in full swing in the badly affected areas.

The dead include four from the ITBP, two of their family members, and 12 junior officers from the BRO. Other victims were casual labourers, they said. Most of the casualties were reported from Rangma range.

Landslides were caused by heavy rains since September 19, Deputy Commissioner North district T W Khangsherpa said, adding there were about nine landslides blocking the main road between Chungthang and Mangan in the district. In the small hours of Sunday, another landslide occurred at an area about a kilometre from Mangan, the district headquarter town of North Sikkim, blocking NH 31-A and leaving the northern side of the Himalayan state cut off.

In Assam, flood situation deteriorated with 15 districts reeling under its impact, as large parts of Dibru-Saikhowa and Kaziranga National Parks and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary submerged. Five deaths have been reported, official sources said in Guwahati.

The surging waters of the swollen rain-fed Brahmaputra and its tributaries overran fresh areas affecting an estimated five lakh people in Dibrugarh, Sonitpur, Tinsukia, Golaghat, Morigaon, Dhemaji, Kamrup (Rural), Lakhimpur, Baksa, Barpeta, Jorhat, Nalbari, Sibsagar and Udalguri districts.

Troops of the Tezpur-headquartered Gajraj Corps swung into action in flood-hit Sonitpur district of central Assam and rescued around 1,500 civilians in the past four-five days. The IAF also dropped 2.4 tonnes of relief material.

In Sonitpur district, the Army and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) were assisting the district administration in rescue and relief operations, pressing into service 10 special boats where road communication has been snapped by the deluge, district Deputy Commissioner Tapan Chandra Sarma.

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