23 dead, several missing as rain, landslides wreak havoc in Mizoram

Rescue work underway after a stone quarry collapsed amid heavy rain in the aftermath of Cyclone Remal, in Aizawl district, Tuesday, May 28, 2024.
Rescue work underway after a stone quarry collapsed amid heavy rain in the aftermath of Cyclone Remal, in Aizawl district, Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

Aizawl | At least 23 people, including 13 in a stone quarry collapse, were killed in Mizoram on Tuesday due to landslides and incessant rain in the aftermath of cyclone 'Remal', state disaster management authority said.

Several other people went missing in landslides, mostly in the state capital region, which was cut off from the rest of the country for several hours during the day and bore the brunt of the natural calamities.

In a massive landslide, at least 13 people, including two minors, were killed and eight others were missing as a stone quarry collapsed in Aizawl district, the Mizoram State Disaster Management Authority (MSDMA) said.

Three persons were also killed and 17 others injured in separate incidents in Assam on Tuesday as heavy rain accompanied by strong winds lashed the state in the aftermath of the cyclone.

Two persons died and over 500 others were injured as downpours wreaked havoc in Meghalaya.

The stone quarry collapse incident in Mizoram happened around 6 am in an area between Melthum and Hlimen on the southern outskirts of the Aizawl town, an official said.

The MSDMA stated that several houses and worker camps caved in due to the impact of the landslide, burying at least 21 people beneath the debris.

So far, 13 bodies have been recovered and eight people are still missing, it said.

"Among the deceased in the stone quarry collapse are a four-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl," a police officer said.

Aizawl's Deputy Commissioner Nazuk Kumar told PTI that the search operations will continue till the entire site is cleared.

"Twenty-two bodies have been recovered. The number could go up. There was an abandoned stone quarry and not functional for the last three decades. Houses near the quarry collapsed," Mizoram Director General of Police Anil Shukla to PTI.

He also said the rescue operation is underway.

"Those involved in the rescue operations are facing difficulties during the night. We are still searching for survivors. Five-six are still missing," the DGP said, adding that heavy rain was affecting the operations.

Shukla said the rain-triggered landslides at several other places in Mizoram were reported and several other persons have been "swept away".

"We have rescued two persons alive from the stone quarry site," he added.

At nearby Hlimen of Aizawl district, at least five people died and four others are still missing when several houses collapsed in a landslide, the MSDMA said.

A building in Aizawl's Salem Veng caved in due to a landslide, following which three persons went missing and their bodies were recovered later, an official said.

He also said that one person each died in Falkawn and Lungsei of Aizawl district when landslides buried their houses.

The MSDAM also stated that eight members of a family inside a house were swept away by a heavy landslide at Chawnpui of Aizawl district.

The state capital was cut off for the whole day from the rest of the country due to landslides on National Highway-6 at Hunthar and NH-54 at Bungbangla. The road blockages were cleared in the evening and the traffic movement was restored, the officials said.

According to the India Meteorological Department's regional centre in Guwahati, light to moderate rain is very likely to occur at most places over Mizoram on Wednesday, while thunderstorms and lightning with gusty

Rescue work underway after a stone quarry collapsed amid heavy rain in the aftermath of Cyclone Remal, in Aizawl district, Tuesday, May 28, 2024.
Rescue work underway after a stone quarry collapsed amid heavy rain in the aftermath of Cyclone Remal, in Aizawl district, Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

wind reaching up to 30-40 kmph speed are very likely to occur at isolated places in the hill state.

The Mizoram government has ordered the closure of all offices and PSU units on Wednesday in view of the weather warning issued by the IMD, except those departments involved with disaster management and essential services.

Chief Minister Lalduhoma convened an emergency meeting with Home Minister K Sapdanga, Chief Secretary Renu Sharma and other senior officials to take stock of the situation, a senior official said.

The CM announced Rs 4 lakh ex gratia for the families of those killed in the stone quarry collapse and calamities caused by rain.

Sapdanga handed over cheques of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the eight Mizo people who died in the quarry collapse and said the remaining amount would be given to them soon.

"The identities of the four non-tribal people are being verified. If they are permanent residents of Mizoram, they will be given the ex gratia. If they came here temporarily to work, then they will not get any financial support," he told PTI.

Lalduhoma said the government has earmarked Rs 15 crore to tackle disasters triggered by rain, which occurred as an aftereffect of cyclone 'Remal'.

Later, Lalduhoma along with Sapdanga, who is also in charge of the Disaster Management and Rehabilitation Department, visited the stone quarry site to take stock of the situation and oversee the rescue operations.

In Mamit district's Dapchhuah, a Myanmar refugee camp and some crop areas were submerged due to heavy rainfall, the MSDMA said.

Because of the incessant rain, all schools were closed and government employees, except those involved in providing essential services, were asked to work from home.

Meanwhile, more than 50 families were shifted to safer places when their houses submerged due to the overflowing of the Tlawng river at Sairang village, about 21 km from Aizawl, said the Aizawl DC.

Around 150 houses have been destroyed, dozens of trees and electric poles were uprooted, several roads were blocked and over 50 dwelling units were submerged across Mizoram in a trail of destruction left by the aftereffect of cyclone 'Remal'.

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