Rescue operations by the central and state agencies were underway on Thursday after a massive landslide triggered by incessant rains during the past few days in Manipur’s Noney district buried dozens of people alive, officials said.
As per reports, at least 8 people were killed and over 50 are missing after the massive landslide hit the 107 Territorial Army (TA) camp in Noney early Thursday morning. 7 of those dead were TA jawans and one was a Railways worker engaged in the construction of the Imphal-Jiribam railway project, said sources.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have spoken to Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and assured him of all possible help to rescue the people and deal with the situation.
Modi tweeted: “Spoke to Manipur CM N. Biren Singh and reviewed the situation due to a tragic landslide. Assured all possible support from the Centre. I pray for the safety of all those affected. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon.”
Home Minister Shah in a tweet said: “Spoke to N. Biren Singh and Ashwini Vaishnav in the wake of a landslide near the Tupul railway station in Manipur. Rescue operations are in full swing. A team of NDRF has already reached the spot and joined the rescue operations. Two more teams are on their way to Tupul.”
In an advisory, Noney Deputy Commissioner Haulianlal Guite said the landslide also hit the Tupul Yard Railway construction camp. The landslide obstructed the course of the Ijei river which flows through Tamenglong and Noney districts.
As the situation is still unfolding, the Deputy Commissioner has warned the general public, especially children, against going near the river. If the situation further deteriorates, it would wreak havoc to the low lying areas of Noney district, he added.
The district administration, in coordination with various national and state disaster agencies, is undertaking search and rescue, relief operations work. People have also been advised against travelling along the National Highway 37 due to multiple road blockages due to landslides.
The district administration has also launched several helpline numbers for the affected people to call for assistance. The under construction Tupul station building, track formation and camps of construction workers got damaged as a result of the massive landslide.
Chief Public Relations Officer of Northeast Frontier Railways Sabyasachi De said rescue teams from NDRF, SDRF, state government and the Railways rushed to the site. He said that full-scale rescue operations are in progress.
Senior Railways officials, engineers and equipment on construction sites have been pressed into the rescue efforts. So far, 19 people have been rescued and the injured individuals are being medically treated at Noney Army Medical unit.
However, bad weather and fresh landslides are affecting the rescue operations. Concerted effort by all is underway to rescue the missing individuals. The Army helicopters are also being used to airlift the critically injured, the CPRO said.
Meanwhile, Defence Spokesman Lt. Col. Mohit Vaishnava said the Indian Army on Thursday rescued 13 Territorial Army personnel, who were trapped following the massive landslide in Noney district. The personnel were deployed to provide security to the under construction railway line from Jiribam to state capital Imphal.
The injured Territorial Army personnel are being treated at the Noney Army Medical unit. Army helicopters are on stand-by, waiting for the weather to clear, Lt. Col. Vaishnava said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Biren Singh has held an emergency meeting. “Called an emergency meeting to assess the situation of the landslide in Tupul today. The search and rescue operation is already underway. Let’s keep them in our prayers today. Ambulances along with doctors have also been dispatched to assist in the operation,” he said in a tweet.
(With IANS inputs)