At least eight people were killed and over 50 are missing after a massive landslide hit the 107 Territorial Army (TA) camp in Noney district of Manipur early Thursday morning, officials said. Seven of those dead were TA jawans and one was a Railways worker engaged in the construction of the Imphal-Jiribam railway project, said sources.
The TA was deployed near Tupul Railway Station in Noney district for the protection of the under-construction railway line.
A statement by the Defence Public Relations Office in Imphal said columns of the Indian Army and the Assam Rifles are engaged in the rescue operations. The engineering equipment at the site too has been pressed into the rescue efforts, it stated.
The massive debris has blocked the Ejai River, creating a reservoir that may inundate low-lying areas, according to the Noney Deputy Commissioner.
An advisory issued by the Deputy Commissioner read: “Due to the unfortunate landslide which occurred at Tupul yard railway construction camp, where casualties are being reported and dozens buried alive, the flow of the river has also been obstructed by the debris, creating a dam-like storage condition which if breached will wreak havoc to the low-lying areas of Noney district headquarters…”
Thirteen people were rescued till 5.30 am and are being treated at the Noney Army Medical unit, said the statement. More than 50 people, however, are still missing, according to sources, with fresh landslides and bad weather affecting rescue operations. The Defence statement said Army helicopters were on standby, waiting for the weather to clear.
A large number of National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force personnel, too, have been deployed for the operation, with state police and district officials assisting them.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh visited the landslide hit area to oversee the rescue operations.
Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to the Chief Minister and Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on the incident.
Shah said one NDRF team has reached the landslide site and two more are on their way.
“Spoke to CM Shri @NBirenSingh and Shri @AshwiniVaishnaw in the wake of a landslide near the Tupul railway station in Manipur. Rescue operations are in full swing. A team of NDRF has already reached the spot and joined the rescue operations. 2 more teams are on their way to Tupul,” Shah tweeted.
Biren tweeted: “Called an emergency meeting to assess the situation of the landslide in Tupul today. The search and rescue operation is already underway. Let’s keep them in our prayers today. Ambulances along with doctors have also been dispatched to assist in the operation.”
The Noney Deputy Commissioner’s statement said: “…as the condition is still developing and the future is unknown, the general public is hereby advised to take their own precautions, and especially ensure children do not come out near the river. Whoever can evacuate are also advised to evacuate. Public are further advised to stay alert and be prepared for any assistance in case of rain condition deteriorate further.”
The statement advised travellers to avoid National Highway 37 owing to multiple road blockages.
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