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Mizoram: Rescue operations on to find missing victims of landslides

14 killed in landslide, eight missing as stone quarry houses collapses between Melthum and Hlimen in Mizoram

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AIZWAL, May 29: A day after 25 bodies were recovered from debris caused by massive landslides due to incessant rain across Mizoram, rescue operations continued on Wednesday to locate missing persons, an official report said.

According to the morning bulletin of the Mizoram State Disaster Management Authority (MSDMA), rescue operations began early morning to find the missing people at several locations, including the site of an abandoned stone quarry where several houses collapsed on Tuesday morning.

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Several people went missing in landslides, mostly in the state capital region, which was cut off from the rest of the country for several hours and bore the brunt of the natural calamities.

In a massive landslide, at least 14 people, including two minors, were killed and around eight others were missing as stone quarry houses collapsed in an area between Melthum and Hlimen on the southern outskirts of the Aizawl town.

“Search and rescue operations are in progress. Authorities have deployed 25 personnel from 3rd MAP, 22 personnel from 1st MAP and 10 personnel from 5th IR battalion at the site,” MSDMA said in the report.

It stated that several houses and worker camps caved in due to the impact of the landslide, burying at least 22 people beneath the debris. Among the deceased are a four-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl.

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“The weather is so far comfortable with no rain since morning. We hope to continue the operations without any hindrance by nature although it is cloudy now,” an official of the MSDMA told PTI.

Aizawl’s Deputy Commissioner Nazuk Kumar said on Tuesday that the search operations will continue till the entire site is cleared.

At nearby Hlimen of Aizawl district, where five people were recovered and four others are still missing, the authorities continued the rescue operations in search of the people, the morning bulletin said.

A building in Aizawl’s Salem Veng caved in due to a landslide, following which three persons went missing and their bodies were recovered later on Tuesday.

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One person each died in Falkawn, Lungsei and Kelsih of Aizawl district when landslides buried their houses.

The MSDMA also stated that eight members of a family inside a house were swept away by a heavy landslide at Chawnpui in Aizawl district.

The state capital was cut off for the whole day on Tuesday from the rest of the country due to landslides on National Highway-6 at Hunthar and NH-54 at Bungbangla. The road blockades were cleared in the evening and the traffic movement was restored, the officials said.

In Aizawl town, some cemeteries at Republic Veng, Kanan Veng and Kulikawn have also been swept away by landslides, and over 200 graves were damaged.

According to the India Meteorological Department’s regional centre in Guwahati, light to moderate rain is very likely to occur at most places over Mizoram on Wednesday, while thunderstorms and lightning with gusty wind reaching up to 30-40 kmph speed are very likely to occur at isolated places in the hill state.

The Mizoram government has ordered the closure of all offices and PSU units on Wednesday in view of the inclement weather warning issued by the IMD on cyclone ‘Remal’, except those departments involved with disaster management and essential services.

General Administration Department Commissioner and Secretary K Lalthawmmawia in the order also advised the private sector entities to adopt ‘work from home’ mode as far as possible in view of the weather warning.

Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma announced Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia for the families of those killed in the stone quarry collapse and calamities caused by rain in other parts of the state.

He said the government has earmarked Rs 15 crore to tackle disasters triggered by rain, which occurred as an aftereffect of cyclone ‘Remal’.

More than 150 houses have been destroyed, dozens of trees and electric poles were uprooted, several roads were blocked and over 50 dwelling units were submerged across Mizoram in a trail of destruction left by the after effect of cyclone ‘Remal’. (PTI)

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