At least 21 persons were killed, including children, in a series of rain-induced landslides that took place in three districts of southern Assam’s Barak Valley—Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi—on Tuesday morning.
The incidents come on the heels of the first wave of floods, which displaced lakhs in the state in the past week.
Condoling the deaths, President Ramnath Kovind tweeted, “The loss of lives due to heavy rains and landslides in Barak valley, Assam is tragic. Local authorities are undertaking rescue and relief efforts. Condolences to the bereaved families. Prayers for everyone’s safety and well-being.”
Earlier in the day, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had said that he was “deeply anguished” at the loss of lives in Barak valley. The government has dispatched teams for rescue and relief operations to the spots.
Deeply anguished at the loss of lives due to landslides triggered by incessant rain in Barak valley.
I have directed Cachar, Hailakandi & Karimganj district administrations and SDRF to step up rescue, relief operations and facilitate all possible help needed to those affected.
— Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) June 2, 2020
As per officials at the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, Cachar district has reported 7 deaths (4 children, 3 adults) in the Lakhipur revenue circle, Karimganj district has reported 6 deaths (3 children, 3 adults) in the Nilambazar Revenue Circle and Hailakandi district has reported 8 deaths (6 adults, 2 children) in the Hailakandi revenue circle.
CM Sonowal wrote further in his tweet: “I have directed Cachar, Hailakandi & Karimganj district administrations and SDRF to step up rescue, relief operations and facilitate all possible help needed to those affected.” The CM also directed the respective district administrations to immediately release ex-gratia to the next of kin of the deceased.
“Most of the houses were make-shift and located near a hillock. We have been witnessing continuous rainfall in the last 3-4 days but last night it was particularly heavy,” said a district official from Hailakandi, adding that the victims belonged to two families.
In Cachar district too, the houses were located under a hillock. “The rains caused the soil to loosen and resulted in landslides which destroyed the houses,” said an official from Cachar district, who wished to remain anonymous. “We had a record-breaking 150 mm of rainfall last night — it was unprecedented.”
The bodies have been recovered and sent for an autopsy.
Incessant rainfall has caused several districts of Assam to flood in the past week. As of June 1, more than two lakh people have been affected and nine people have been killed.
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