Villagers near Manipur quake epicentre in shock

Residents worry of another tremor

Villagers near Manipur quake epicentre in shock

Bongamlung, a 54-year-old Rengmai Naga farmer heading a joint family of 11, has been mourning the death of his granddaughter who died a few days back. 

For the past few days, his family was consoled in their grief by community members. Youths, as per the indigenous practice, would come and spent the night to “protect” them from “evil spirits” who may come to haunt the living.

However, on the fateful morning of January 4,  four youths who were following the age-old tradition and sleeping peacefully in the mud-walled house of Bongamlung got the shock of their lives, not from evil spirits, but the 6.8 strong earthquake that shook entire eastern India. They were trapped as the wall and the roof collapsed on them.

“We got a sudden jolt. Before I could realise what had happened, I fell off my bed.

Everything around me was shaking. I suddenly saw the mud wall of the next room crumbling in seconds and falling over the four youths. They got trapped under the rubble.

I shouted for help,” Bongamlung narrated as Deccan Herald visited his earthquake ravaged village.

However, villagers managed to rescue them and were rushed to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in the state capital Imphal. Their conditions are stated to be critical.

The epicentre of the quake was a few miles from Bongamlung’s Longmai village in Noney of Tamenglong district in Manipur. The massive earthquake left 6 dead and over 70 injured across Manipur besides huge loss to property and infrastructure.

According to government sources, the epicentre is within 10 km radius of Noney, where about 10,000 people live.

The neighbouring Nagaching and Kabui Khullen village also suffered a lot. Over 50 houses are said to be turned into rubble in remote villages which can only be reached with trucks. Locals believe people might still be trapped there.

“The earthquake was like a storm. I was the first person in the village to step out. It was chilling cold and due to fog I could not see. I rushed back inside to get my family out and I grab a torch and went looking around. At least 20 houses in our village are totally damaged. Telecom and power supply got disrupted,” said Lanthuigong, the secretary of the Longmai Village Council.

He also said that people were apprehensive of another major quake or after shocks. “Yet they don’t want to leave the village,” he added. The quake has been recorded as the strongest to hit the trouble-torn Manipur since 1957 when a major earthquake of 7.3 on the RichterScale shook the state.

“I was young then. I forgot that horror over the years, but now I am even more terrified. My house is weak. It has developed cracks. I am staying in my shop with my family until I get government assistance,” said Pengma Rongmei.

After more than 24 hours since the quake, the village is yet to see any signs of government officials or ministers. However, a team of NDRF reached the village around 3 pm on Tuesday. The villagers have started rebuilding their village on their own.
 

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