Death toll mounts to 16 in Arunachal landslides

June 15th, 2008 - 2:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, June 15 (IANS) Two more people died Sunday taking the death toll in a series of landslides in Arunachal Pradesh to 16, even as rescue workers were looking for possible survivors trapped under the debris of collapsed houses, officials said. “Two of the 30 people, who were injured in Saturday’s landslides, died at a local hospital here, while the condition of a few more was still stated to be critical,” Bidul Payeng, district magistrate of Pamumpare of which Itanagar is a part, told IANS.

Heavy landslides in and around state capital Itanagar Saturday killed 14 people and injured 30 with hillocks caving in on houses in at least five different locations.

Rescue workers were looking for possible survivors trapped under the debris of collapsed houses.

“Rescue workers are working overtime although rains have hampered our efforts,” Payeng said. Up to 30 houses, some of them concrete structures and others temporary shelters made of bamboo and thatch, have collapsed in the landslides.

Road links between capital Itanagar and the rest of the country remained snapped for the second day Sunday due to the landslides.

In neighbouring Assam, flash floods triggered by monsoon rains continued to wreak havoc displacing about 50,000 people in close to 200 villages in the eastern Lakhimpur district, about 490 km from the state’s main city of Guwahati.

“The situation is still critical with the main Brahmaputra river and its tributaries flowing above the danger level in many places,” Assam’s Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Bhumidhar Barman told IANS.

A flood control official said floodwaters have also hit the northern Sonitpur district with breaches in embankments.

Thousands of people are now sheltered in makeshift camps and on raised platforms, the minister said.

“We have sounded a maximum alert across the state with the army asked to be on standby,” Barman said.

The regional meteorological centre here Sunday warned of more rains and thundershowers in the next 24 hours.

The 2,906 km-long Brahmaputra is one of Asia’s largest rivers that traverses its first stretch of 1,625 km in China’s Tibet region, the next 918 km in India and the remaining 363 km through neighbouring Bangladesh before converging into the Bay of Bengal.

Every year, the floods leave a trail of destruction, washing away villages, submerging paddy fields, and drowning livestock, besides causing loss of human life and property, in the remote state of 26 million.

The monsoon was scattered in Assam last year thereby sparing millions of people from the ravaging floods. In 2004, at least 200 people died and over 12 million were displaced in the floods.

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