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13 more killed as heavy rain continues to lash Meghalaya

The IMD, in its forecast issued on Friday, said that “heavy to very heavy” rainfall will continue over Meghalaya till next Tuesday.

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Shillong: Thirteen more people, including seven minors and a Border Security Force (BSF) trooper were killed, while one more missing in connection with different incidences of landslides in Meghalaya, triggered by continuous heavy rains on Friday, taking the total number of fatalities due to the landslides in the State to 33, an official said.

The IMD, in its forecast issued on Friday, said that “heavy to very heavy” rainfall will continue over Meghalaya till next Tuesday.

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A government official said that eight persons, including five from a family and her four children, died in a landslide at Dangar village, another woman lost her life at Kenmynsaw village while her husband still missing, one death was reported from Boro Ryngku village and another from Betgora-A village under Mawsynram Block in East Khasi Hills district.  

In another related landslide incident, three from a family and their child, died in landslides at Bolsalgre locality in Baghmara and the body of a woman was retrieved from the debris following a landslide at Siju village in South Garo Hills district.

A BSF trooper was also killed in another landslide-related incident at Lalghat Border Outpost under Ranikor Block in South West Khasi Hills district.

Rescue operations are underway in affected locations.

All schools in the state have been closed till June 20 due to the inclement weather.  

Baghmara, the district headquarters of South Garo Hills bordering Bangladesh is reeling under water, while three major bridges, one at Karukol another at Rongdik as well as the main bridge connecting Rongara were washed away by the strong waters of the Simsang River.

According to officials, 5.43 lakh people have been affected in 607 villages with severe damage to houses and loss of livestock. In all 3,940 houses have been damaged, either fully or partially in the affected areas. 12 hectares of standing crop has also been affected.

Almost all the districts of the state have been affected by the continuous rainfall which has thrown life out of gear causing deaths, damages to roads, bridges and highways. The government has shut down schools and colleges till June 20 and advised people to be cautious.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma called on Union Finance Minister N Sitharaman in New Delhi and apprised her of the natural calamity in the state and sought the central government’s assistance for ongoing flood situation, the damages on account of landslides and loss of lives in the State and sought the support of the central government.

“Apprised Union Finance Minister Sitharaman on the ongoing flood situation, the damages on account of landslides and the loss of lives in Meghalaya. Sought the support of Government of India in this regard,” Sangma tweeted. The Chief Minister is slated to meet Home Minister Amit Shah later this evening.

Expressing sadness at the “loss of lives in the State”, the Chief Minister announced an ex gratia of Rs. 4 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.

Sangma added rescue operations are underway in affected locations.

The Chief Minister also held a virtual meeting with Chairmen of the Regional Committees, Deputy Commissioners, officials of Meghalaya Police and Departments to review the situation in the Districts in the last 24 hours and to chalk out the plan of action.

Sangma has called on the officials to ensure the supply of essentials, shifting of people out of high risk houses, identify more shelter homes, ensure early release of ex-gratia payment to families of the deceased and maintain road connectivity in the districts.

“Relief materials are being supplied by all the concerned departments and officials. In areas where there have been landslides efforts are on by officials to ensure these are cleared at the earliest,” the Chief Minister added.

Normal movement of traffic has been affected on National Highway 06 connecting Southern Assam’s Barak Valley, Mizoram, Tripura and parts of Manipur. Efforts are on to clear landslides in different locations.

“We are making efforts, but it will take some time. Alternative routes have been identified for light motor vehicles on this route,” the Chief Minister said about the landslides on NH 06.

Meanwhile, Sohra (Cherrapunjee) recorded 972.0 mm rainfall in the past 24 hours as on Friday. This is the third highest 24 hour rainfall in June so far.

The highest ever record is 1563.3 mm of rainfall in June 1995 and second highest is 973.8 mm rainfall on June 5, 1956.

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