Imphal: A massive landslide hit Jiribam-Tupul railway construction site in Manipur’s Noney district Thursday, killing at least eight people, officials said.
The officials further said that the dead bodies of eight people were recovered, rescued at least 19 people and several others missing.
Seven of the dead bodies recovered so far belonged to the Territorial Army while the remaining one was that of a railway worker.
The death toll may rise as rescue operations continue as several others were feared trapped in the massive landslide that completely blocked the Ejei River at Tupul in Noney district.
The massive landslide occurred at Marangching part-V, where Tupul Yard company camp is located, in the wee hours of today.
Most of the victims of the landslide were personnel of the Territorial Army, officials and workers engaged in the railway line construction and villagers.
Among the missing persons, it included personnel of the Territorial Army, staff members of the railways, three engineers of the BIPL, children and villagers. Meanwhile, local police, NDRF, SDRF, Army, and paramilitary forces have swung into action to rescue the missing people. Doctors and paramedical staff members from Imphal rushed to the spot along with ambulances and joined the rescue operation.
Columns of the Indian Army and the Assam Rifles are engaged in the rescue operations. The engineering equipment at the site too has been pressed into the rescue efforts, PIB (Defense Wing), Imphal said in a statement.
Deputy Commissioner of Noney district said that the massive debris wreaked havoc after the debris blocked the Ejei River completely. It created a reservoir that may inundate low-lying areas, he added.
In an advisory, the deputy commissioner stated that “due to the unfortunate landslide which occurred at Tupul yard railway construction camp, where casualties are being reported and dozens buried alive, the flow of the 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 headquarters…”
The deputy commissioner also said, “…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 go near the river.”
“Whoever can evacuate is also advised to evacuate. Public is further advised to stay alert and be prepared for any assistance in case rain conditions deteriorate further.” The statement further advised travellers to avoid NH-37 (Imphal-Jiribam Road) owing to multiple road blockages. The unfortunate incident of a massive landslide at Tupul of Noney district has happened unexpectedly, said a statement from the chief minister’s secretariat.
In response, the state government has immediately mobilized the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) in close coordination with Army and Railway Authorities, it said.
Local staff, including medical teams are rendering all possible assistance. Additional medical teams and ambulances have left Imphal already, it added.
The chief minister also convened an emergency meeting upon receipt of the news of the incident. The situation is being monitored closely and all necessary assistance will be provided, the statement assured. Meanwhile, the state government deputed five MCS officers to assist the Noney deputy commissioner in relief, rescue and coordination.
Meanwhile, the chief minister announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured. The chief minister also paid a visit to the landslide hit area in the afternoon.
Manipur Governor La Ganesan also expressed his deep shock to hear the sad news of a landslide due to the intermittent rain in the state during the last more than a week.
He conveyed his deepest condolences to the bereaved family members. He also prayed to God for peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved family members to bear these profound sorrows.