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Northeast Torrential rains trigger landslides, flash floods

Robert

Torrential rain, landslides and flash floods wreaked havoc in several parts of North East India, claiming lives and throwing normal life out of gear in Manipur, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram. The Southwest Monsoon has already covered most of the four northeastern states, according to India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials in Guwahati and Agartala. The situation worsened in Assam, Tripura and Manipur as train services remained suspended on some routes and roads were washed away. Erratic power and water supply have also forced many schools and governments offices to remain closed. A number of embankments have caved in at various places, with several rivers flowing above the danger mark.

Thousands of people are stranded in Assam as flash floods hit several districts in the northeastern part of the state. According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), over 3.87 lakh people have been affected in villages under eight revenue circles in the districts of Biswanath, Karbi Anglong West and Karbi Anglong East, Golaghat, Karimganj and Hailakandi and Cachar districts in the first wave of floods to have hit the state this year.. The key link connecting southern Assam and Manipur has been destroyed in landslides; thousands of vehicles on either side of the border are stranded. Power supply has also been disrupted say reports. With fresh showers in several parts of the state in the past, a few more areas of Barak Valley were reported flooded. According to official sources, six rivers in the valley are flowing precariously above danger levels. The water level of the Barak River and its tributaries are increasing rapidly, snapping communication between the Barak Valley and Meghalaya. Road connectivity between Hailakandi and Mizoram has snapped because several highways are under water.

In Manipur, several low-lying areas in Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishenpur districts have been flooded. Residential areas in the capital of Manipur are submerged as the Imphal and Nambul rivers have breached their banks due to incessant overnight rain. Over 1.5 lakh people were left marooned in two flood-hit districts as the situation in the Imphal Valley worsened with the rising death toll. About 12,500 houses have been damaged and 5,200 people moved out of the area. The Manipur government has declared a holiday for all government offices and educational institutions as floods hit most part of Imphal city. In Thoubal district, at least a hundred houses have been flooded by the overflowing Thoubal River, forcing residents to take shelter in relief camps. According to official sources Irilbung and Lilong rivers are also flowing at the danger level. Some of the worst-hit areas in the district are Wangoi, Lamphel, Iroishemba, Lamsang, Patsoi and Konthoujam. The national highway connecting Manipur with southern Assam’s Barak Valley was cut off after mudslides.

The situation in Mizoram is causing concern since there were house collapses and deaths in the recent past. state disaster management and rehabilitation department at least 1,066 families have so far been evacuated  in Mizoram to safer places due to flood, mudslides and landslides even as waters receded. The worst-hit villages were south Mizoram Lunglei district’s Tlabung town and its surrounding villages as their homes were inundated by the flooding Chhimtuipui river along the Mizoram-Bangladesh border and Tlawng river in Aizawl district swelled due to extremely heavy monsoon downpours. According to government sources, water levels in the Tlawng and Langkaih rivers have started receding. However, the road connecting Aizawl with Lunglei via Thenzawl was blocked for a few hours in Mualthuam village in Lunglei district before officials of the Public Works Department cleared a massive landslide near Ramlaitui.

In Tripura, over 3,500 families have been rendered homeless due to rains. The situation in Tripura also deteriorated with the rain-fed Khowai river inundating fresh areas rendering thousands homeless and damaging roads and crops, officials said. The water level in Howrah river, which passes through Agartala, was flowing slightly below the danger level. Seven of the eight districts in the state have been affected, with the situation in Unakoti being the worst. The Kalilashshar sub-division of Unakoti district, which was badly affected by the flood, is yet to recover from the disaster with over 21,000 people still putting up in relief camps. Besides Unakoti, some of the other severely affected regions are South Tripura, Dhalai, North Tripura, Gomati and a few West Tripura districts. The Assam-Agartala National Highway, considered to be the lifeline of the state, was opened for vehicular movement after debris were cleared. The road remained cut off for several hours due to land slips at Atharamura hill. The state government has sought assistance from the Indian Army and NDRF to evacuate people from flooded areas.  According to Government sources 180 relief camps have been set up to provide shelter.

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