By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Jun 30: At least eight people have been killed while around 50 others have been buried or are missing after a catastrophic landslide struck the premises of 107 Territorial Army at Marangching Part 5 deployed near Tupul Railway station in Noney district last night.
The deceased victims include seven TA personnel and one construction worker.
Notably, the TA camp was housing both TA personnel and construction workers. There were also two shops within the premises of the camp which were run by civilians.
A late report received from Noney said that 44 persons are still missing at the time this report was filed. Altogether 70 persons were reportedly staying at the vicinity, added the report.
Altogether 43 personnel of the Railway Construction Guard (TA) were staying at the said place including officers. Out of them lifeless bodies of 7 personnel have been recovered while 23 are reported missing while 13 have been rescued.
Out of 18 labourers staying at the camp, one has been found dead while seven have been rescued.
The missing include an Engineer and a cook of BIPL and VSC, two couples including a 2 year old child.
An entire face of a hill slope broke apart and fell 300 feet below destroying and burying everything on its path. The massive debris have covered the entire breadth of Ijei River from one end to the other.
Troops of Indian Army, Assam Rifles, Territorial Army and teams of NDRF, SDRF, Indian Railways, civil administration and local people of Noney carried out extensive rescue operations today.
So far, 13 soldiers of TA and five civilians/construction workers have been rescued while bodies of seven TA personnel and one construction worker have been recovered.
Of the 49/50 people who are still missing and feared to have been buried by the debris, there is a two year old child.
The missing persons include 23 TA personnel, three engineers of Northern Frontier Railway, three construction workers of BIPL, 15 VSC workers (engaged in railway track construction work) and five civilians who ran shops within the TA camp.
It is said that search and rescue operations will continue throughout the night. Engineering equipment including dozers have been pressed into service for creating access to the site of incident and help in the rescue efforts.
Meanwhile, the civil administration has cautioned civilians living in downstream areas of Ijei River to take precautions and evacuate due to likelihood of breach of the dam created in the river by the landslide.
The incident took place around last midnight when the landslide struck near the Tupul yard railway construction camp located near Makhuam area, about 14 kms North East of Noney police station.
“So far we’ve recovered eight bodies and rescued 13 injured persons,” a senior State official monitoring the search and rescue operations said.
The death toll is likely to increase as approximately 23 people are still missing and the search operation is on.
The Ijei river flowing through Tamenglong and Noney districts has been obstructed by the debris that has created a dam-like storage condition which, if breached, will wreak havoc at low-lying areas of Noney district, according to an advisory notice issued by the Noney Deputy Commissioner.
PM Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke with Chief Minister N Biren and assured him all the help from the Centre.
“Spoke to Manipur CM Shri 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”, PM Modi tweeted.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also condoled the loss of lives in the tragedy, terming the incident extremely distressing.
“The news of a tragic landslide near Tupul Yard railway construction camp in Noney District, Manipur is extremely distressing,” Gandhi said on Twitter.
“My condolences to the bereaved families who have lost their loved ones and prayers for speedy recovery of those injured,” he said.