At least 20 people were killed in Manipur’s worst-ever landslide on Saturday as rain under the influence of Cyclone Komen wreaked havoc in West Bengal, affecting nearly 1.2 lakh people.
A massive landslide swept away almost the entire Joumol village in the Chandel district of Manipur bordering Myanmar. Over 1 lakh people were displaced, as incessant rain over a week caused massive flash floods in Chandel, Thoubal and Imphal Valley in the last 73 hours. The situation worsened on Saturday as rain inundated agricultural fields and washed away several roads and bridges across the state.
The weather department has predicted more rain and thunderstorm in Manipur in the coming 24 hours. “We fear 20 people have died in landslide caused by heavy rain in Joumol village....rescue operation is still on,” Chandel Deputy Commissioner Robert Singh Khetrimayum told Deccan Herald over phone. Sources in the Assam Rifles said that troopers who were patrolling the Indo-Myanmar border were pressed in to rescue the villagers.
Pallel in Thoubal district and entire Chandel districts are badly affected. Farmers in this area, known as the rice bowl of Manipur, have lost their harvest.
Large tracts of agricultural land in Sugnu, Nungu, Tangjeng and Serou are submerged, sources added.
The National Disaster Response Force personnel will be airlifted on Sunday morning to Imphal. The Army has been kept on stand by. The Asian Highway No 1 which connects Imphal and border town of Moreh has been cut off. Annoyed over the government’s slow response, enraged locals chased the chief secretary and his team who visited the affected areas on Saturday.
Meanwhile, swollen rivers in southern Mizoram rendered about 100 families homeless, while one house was swept away by swirling Chhimtuipui River. The Darzokai village on the banks of the Chhimtuipui river is marooned.
Sources in the Assam State Disaster management Authority added that though there is no flood-like situation in the state, but heavy rainfall in neighbouring Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh might lead to flash floods over the week.
In West Bengal, flood situation turned grim on Saturday with 1.19 lakh people taking shelter in relief camps in 12 districts of the state even as the Met department predicted heavy rain in the next two days, reports PTI. In Chennai, three flights, including two international on routes, were on Saturday diverted following heavy downpour. Two international flights arriving from Frankfurt and Singapore, respectively, which were supposed to land in Chennai on Saturday morning, were diverted to Bengaluru and Tiruchirapalli. Another domestic aircraft from Pune was diverted to Bengaluru.