Manipur, the day after: At source of earthquake, ‘widening’ cracks keep villagers awake all night

The two cracks in Dingangpou Kamei’s house continue to the adjoining compound and house of health worker Kahodim Kamei on the hill slope.

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Noney (manipur) | Updated: January 6, 2016 2:04 am

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Dingangpou Kamei, 53, could not sleep Monday night. The earthquake of the early morning still fresh on his mind, two long cracks running through his house at village Longmai Part 1, his nine-member family spent the night sitting on the verandah.

“People are saying that the epicentre of the earthquake was in that hill,” said Kamei, a subsistence farmer, pointing to a hill. “If that is really so, I am sure the earthquake will come again. Look at these cracks on the floor and the courtyard. They seem to have widened in the past 24 hours,” he said. An inside wall too has developed a crack, and an almirah tumbled when the earthquake came, he said.

Several houses in this cluster of villages — Longmai Parts 1 to 5, as well as in the bazaar area on NH 37 that connects Imphal with Silchar in Assam — have developed cracks. “While the cracks on walls can be repaired, what about the cracks on the floor and earth?” said Lanthuigong Kamei, secretary of Longmai Village Authority.

The two cracks in Dingangpou Kamei’s house continue to the adjoining compound and house of health worker Kahodim Kamei on the hill slope. His ailing mother Pouhaimliu, 75, kept mumbling in fear all of Monday night, Dingangpou said. The next compound, which belongs to farmer Sinthiungam, has three cracks including the two running from the houses below. “Everybody here is scared that the cracks will widen once there is another quake,” said Pouniam Gonmei, 24, a teacher in Pfutsero, Nagaland, and now home for Christmas.

Lanthuigong Kamei said at least 30 houses have developed cracks on the floors. Cracks run also through Tent Maker’s Academy, a school in the heart of these villages, as also in three churches. A brick wall around a BSNL tower has collapsed; the debris shows there were no pillars or steel structures to hold it up.

In the house of Ringbuan Paomei, 52, two walls of a mud-house collapsed, injuring six persons, four of whom are now at Regional Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal, about 65 km away. “It took about half an hour to remove the debris and bring the four boys out of the collapsed room,” said Ringbuan’s wife Pantijeiliu, 44.

The Paomeis had nephews as guests that night following a ritual relating to an infant’s death on Sunday evening. “Two boys were sleeping on a wooden bed, three others on the floor. It was only when some male neighbours arrived on hearing our shouts that the boys could be rescued,” Pantijeiliu recounted, showing the rubble that had crushed the bed and some other household articles. In the absence of an ambulance, the family had to pay Rs 3,500 to taxi the four boys – Meidunlung and his cousins Gaiphungong, Kaningai and Gailangam – to Imphal.

Not many government officers, political leaders — barring some of the BJP — or NGO members have visited this cluster of villages that has been living in fear since the magnitude-6.7 earthquake. “When we distributed rice, baby food, biscuits and some woolens to the affected families, people complained that no government official has visited them so far,” said Th Biswajit Singh, BJP MLA from adjoining Thongju.

Damage & relief:

CASUALTIES
8 dead, according to latest govt statement. 88 injured, including 33 in serious condition in various hospitals

BUILDINGS
NDMA deploying experts to assess safety of partially damaged public buildings and advise state government on repair. More than 100 houses damaged in Tamenglong.

RESCUE
Two NDRF teams sent to Manipur start clearing the debris and looking for survivors in Noney and Nungba in Tamenglong. Third NDRF team stationed in Silchar in Assam.

POWER
Supply restored in most areas except in some parts of Senapati and Tamenglong districts. 3-member team of Power Grid in Manipur.

CONNECTIVITY
Telecom services fully operational. BSNL official in Imphal after part of BSNL building damaged.

HEALTHCARE
A central medical team comprising orthopaedics, surgeons, anesthesiologist and other technicians deputed. Indian Red Cross Society team visit Tamenglong district and distribute relief.

HELPLINE
011-1078, open 24×7

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