At least eight people have been killed and more than 50 are missing after a huge landslide hit the 107th 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 railway worker engaged in the construction of the Imphal-Jiribam railway project, sources said.
The TA was deployed near Tupul railway station in Noney district for the protection of the railway line under construction.
A statement from the Defense Public Relations Office in Imphal says columns of Indian Army and Assam Rifles are engaged in the rescue operations. The site’s engineering equipment was also pressed into the rescue efforts, he said.
The massive debris blocked the Ejai River, creating a reservoir that could flood low-lying areas, Deputy Commissioner Noney said.
A notice issued by the Deputy Commissioner read: “Due to the unfortunate landslide that occurred at the Tupul Railway Construction Camp, where casualties are reported and dozens buried alive, the flow of the river was also clogged with debris, creating a dam-like storage condition which, if violated, will wreak havoc in the low-lying areas of Noney District Headquarters…”
Thirteen people were rescued until 5:30 a.m. and are being treated at the Noney Army Medical Unit, the statement said. More than 50 people are still missing, however, sources say, with further landslides and bad weather affecting relief operations. The defense statement said army helicopters were on standby, waiting for the weather to clear.
Large numbers of members of the National Disaster Response Force and National Disaster Response Force were also deployed for the operation, with assistance from state police and officials district.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh visited the landslide affected area to oversee the rescue operations.
Home Minister Amit Shah spoke with Chief Minister and Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw about the incident.
Shah said an NDRF team has reached the site of the landslide and two more are on their way.
“I spoke to CM Shri @NBirenSingh and Shri @AshwiniVaishnaw following a landslide near Tupul Railway Station in Manipur. Rescue operations are in full swing. A team from NDRF has already arrived on the scene 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 landslide situation in Tupul today. The search and rescue operation is already underway. Let’s keep them in our prayers today. Ambulances and doctors were also dispatched to help with the operation.
Deputy Commissioner de Noney’s statement said: ‘…as the condition is still developing and the future is unknown, the general public is urged to take their own precautions, and in particular to ensure that children do not go out not near the river. Anyone who can evacuate is also asked to evacuate. The public is further advised to remain alert and be prepared for any assistance should it rain and the rain conditions deteriorate further.
The statement advised travelers to avoid National Route 37 due to multiple roadblocks.