14 killed, 50 feared dead as huge landslide hits Manipur

This month unprecedented rains have lashed India's north-eastern states and neighbouring Bangladesh, killing over 200


At least 14 people died and another four dozen are feared to have been killed after a massive landslide in a remote area of the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur, local officials said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, another body was retrieved in Arunachal Pradesh where the recent spell of flood and landslides killed at least 18.

The casualties follow the incessant rainfall across the seven northeastern states, which intensified in late June, killing 152 in Assam alone since mid-May. Many parts of Cachar’s Silchar town of Assam remained underwater for over eleven days.

However, India received 8% lower rainfall than average in June because of scanty rainfall in the central parts of the country, the state-run weather office said on Thursday.

Rescue workers in Noney district in Manipur on Thursday morning battled heavy rains and inclement weather to pull out nineteen survivors from the rubble after the landslide occurred at the Tupul railway construction site in the early hours. They said the likelihood of finding any more was thin.

"In all, there were about 81 people. The chances of survival of the remaining 55 people are very thin considering the fact that the landslide occured around 2 a.m.," said Haulianlal Guite, district magistrate of Noney.

Many of those killed belonged to the territorial army who guarded the construction site, officials said.

The landslide also obstructed the flow of a river, creating a dam-like water body that could lead to flooding if the debris are removed, leading to a complex environmental disaster.

Last month unprecedented rains have lashed the seven Indian states and neighbouring Bangladesh, killing more than 200 people.

Millions have been displaced by the catastrophic floods in recent weeks, and in some low-lying areas houses have been submerged.

Army helicopters were on standby and assisting in rescue operations at the site of the landslide, a statement from the Indian army said.

"Army helicopters are on standby. The weather is very hostile and more landslides are hampering our rescue operations," the statement said.

"A concerted effort is underway to rescue the missing individuals. The army helicopters are on standby waiting for the weather to clear," said army spokesman Sumit Kumar Sharma.

"I pray for the safety of all those affected. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter. 

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