Tamenglong landslides claim 7 lives, two missing, many condole

TAMENGLONG, 11th July: At least seven people, including six children, lost their lives while two others are missing after heavy rains triggered landslides simultaneously at four populated pockets of Tamenglong district headquarters early Wednesday morning. Reports of landslides/mudslides occurring at over 10 other places in and around the district headquarters have also been received here. Chief minister N Biren and many organisations and individuals have conveyed their deepest condolences over the loss of precious lives and damages caused to houses and other properties.

The district administration has also instructed officials concerned to remain on high alert and take immediate measures to compile a detailed report as well as to reach out to those affected by the natural calamity. It opened a relief control room at the office of the DC, Tamenglong and the same could be accessed through telephone numbers – 8026659651 (control room), 8414994494 (SDC HQ), 9774661764 (SDC/DC office) and 9862818012 (SDC/DC).

Assisted by local volunteers, district police, central security forces and other agencies, the district administration launched immediate and massive rescue and relief operation, which is said to be at an unprecedented level in the history of the district. The victims included five children from the same family and mother-child duo of another family. Those who lost their lives in the tragic incident were said to be asleep in the houses when the landslides occurred simultaneously.

As per report of the district administration, the worst-hit areas are New Salem, Tamenglong-IV, Ramgailong (Tamenglong-III), Neigailuang (Tamenglong-II) and Council (Tamenglong-I). Of the victims, five were children of Guithuannang Riamei and Liangsiliu of New Salem. The siblings have been identified as Tigailiu (17/girl), Peichunliu (15/girl), Gaikurei (13/boy), Guangthuichui (12/boy) and Pouhuatlung (9/boy). They were students of Trinity Primary School, Pretty Lamb Institute, Model Village Government High School and Gadailong UPS.

The Riamei family is originally from Sonram village. “It is of no point now for me to live,” lamented Guithuannang Riamei, father of the deceased siblings to Newmai News Network while Liangsilu, the mother was too weak to speak as she has been crying since the tragic incident.

Two other children, who are cousins of the five escaped unhurt. The landslide at Neigailuang claimed the lives of mother-son duo identified as Maizinlakliu Pamei, wife of Maithuanlung Pamei, and Linwangbou (13).

In the Ramgailong landslide that washed away the house belonging to Lanthailung Kahmei (husband) and Khuanngamaliu (wife), the couple suffered injuries and has been admitted to the district hospital. However, bodies of the couple’s two children namely Naihonliu Kamei (7) and Rajenwang Kamei (9) could not be recovered till the time of filing this report. They shifted to Ramgailong from Namkaoluang some years back.

The district administration’s report further informed that three families from Ne Salem and Council are taking shelter at Taudai Fellowship and at relatives’ places in safer areas. Partial damage was also caused to Dailong Baptist Church, New Salem.

According to sources, the tragedy occurred around 2 am Wednesday while those affected were deep in their sleep after watching the World Cup semi-final match. Many other houses and structures in and around the district headquarters were also partially damaged or devastated beyond repair.

Chairman of State Disaster Management Adim Panmei, who along with his team, police and fire fighters joined the search operation to locate the two missing children, confirmed that the victims included three girls and two boys.

“We are shocked to hear the tragic incidents. We also share our grief of the bereaved families,” Pamei said as he along with principal secretary Manipur relief and disaster management principal secretary MH Khan rushed to the spots.

“We are planning to give ex-gratia to the next of kin of the deceased. The government will give Rs 1 lakh each as immediate relief measure to them today,” he said. Rehabilitation measures for the victims would be taken up after collecting the assessment reports to be submitted by the district authority, Pamei said.

Deputy commissioner (Tamenglong) Ravinder Singh said that the district police and the district administration are in a war footing to recover the two remaining bodies at Ramgailong, Tamenglong ward number 3.

Ministers Th Radheshyam and Karam Shyam and Tamenglong MLA Samuel Jendai Kamei rushed to Tamenglong town, assessed the situation and met the family members of the deceased persons. Personnel of 23 Assam Rifles and 143 CRPF E-Company were also involved in the rescue and search operations since morning.

Expressing deep shock and grief over the death and injured in the landslides, Chief Minister N Biren conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved families and prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls. He also wished speedy recovery to those injured in the tragic incident.

The Chief Minister assured that an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh would be given to the next of kin of the deceased persons. He also instructed the DC of Tamenglong district to provide immediate assistance to the victims and to monitor the situation minutely. CAF&PD minister Karam Shyam and education minister Thokchom Radheshyam rushed to the spot and assessed the situation while showing solidarity to the bereaved families. MLA Samuel Jendai, additional chief secretary MH Khan, DC Tamenglong Ravinder Singh and state level disaster management committee vice-chairman Adim Pamei also accompanied the ministers.

Interacting with media persons during the visit, Karam Shyam said their visit is as the advice of chief minister N Biren. They have assessed the situations and shared the grief and pains of the bereaved families, he said, while announcing Rs 4 lakh each to the affected families. Rs 1 lakh each will be given as immediate assistance while the remaining Rs 3 lakh will be provided within a short period, he said.

He further said that DC Tamenglong has been instructed to provide shelter and other relief materials to the affected families. While sharing the pains of the families, education minister Radheshyam said that loss of lives is the most shocking pain in human life. It is up to those remaining to pray for the peaceful rest of the departed souls, he said.

Observing that most of the victim students stayed in private boarding for schooling, he said that the government will discuss constructions of hostels for students in the district headquarters for provide shelter to students coming from interior villages.

On the other hand, Karam Shyam said that NH 37 has been reconnected. Besides, the government has put into process for arranging a detour towards NH 37 for the LPG tankers, which are stranded in Nagaland due to landslide. The government has also requested Nagaland government’s support in arranging the detour, he added. Naga People's Front, Manipur State Unit (NPF-MSU) expressed shock over the Tamenglong tragedy.

"We share the grief and sorrow of Tamenglong people, especially the bereaved families. Nothing can compensate the losses of their dear ones but it is our fervent prayer to the Almighty God to console this tragic people to face the challenges," said the NPF-MSU in its condolence message. NPF-MSU said that properties worth crores of rupees were lost in the calamity and requested the state government to arrange immediate relief and evacuate the injured persons at the earliest.

"The effected people should be compensated by the government without any bias and sluggishness in dealing the matters," NPF said and added, "Long term help that will sustain their life should also be arranged".

Many organisations including Zeliangrong Students’ Union Manipur (ZSUM), Zeliangrong Union (Assam, Manipur & Nagaland), Zeliangrong Baudi (AMN) and Rongmei Naga Youth Organisation (RNYO) deeply mourned the death of seven people and missing of two others in the Tamenglong landslides on Wednesday.

In separate statements, the organisations shared the grief of bereaved families and prayed for the departed souls to rest in peace. They also urged the government and its authority concerned to extend all possible help to the affected families of the natural calamity. 

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