Sixteen dead, 50,000 displaced as rains lash northeast (Roundup)

April 22nd, 2010 - 7:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala/Itanagar/Guwahati, April 22 (IANS) Incessant rains caused havoc in the northeastern states of Asssam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura, claiming at least 16 lives and displacing over 50,000 people, officials said Thursday.
At least four people were killed and more than 50 injured when a cyclonic storm lashed several parts of Tripura, leaving a trail of destruction, a relief department official told reporters.

The pre-monsoon rains accompanied by strong winds and hailstorm Wednesday night also damaged more than 2,000 houses and killed many head of cattle in western and southern Tripura.

“North, west and south Tripura districts were worst hit by the thunderstorm. Most people have lost all their belongings and cattle,” the official said.

He said four people, among them a 14-year-old girl, were killed in separate incidents of house collapse and trees falling on rooftops in Khowai and Teliamura areas of west Tripura.

Hundreds of trees, telephone and electricity poles uprooted in the squall badly affected the movement of vehicles Thursday.

“Civil defence workers are busy providing relief. Telecommunication and power corporation personnel are working to restore communication lines and power supply,” the official added.

Heavy rains also damaged railway tracks in northern Tripura and adjoining southern Assam.

“Since Wednesday trains services between Tripura and Assam have been stopped due to the damage to railway tracks,” an official of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) said in Agartala.

“Works are on to restore train services at the earliest,” the NFR official added.

In Arunachal Pradesh, unconfirmed reports said at least 12 villagers were killed due to landslides triggered by heavy rains that have also cut off surface communication of many districts with state capital Itanagar.

“We have received an unconfirmed report that 12 villagers died after huge mudslides in the Dibang Valley district Wednesday,” Arunachal Pradesh’s relief and rehabilitation director K. Kali told IANS by phone, adding that officials are verifying the reports.

“Landslides and erosion of soil due to incessant rains during the past three days have cut-off road communications to Lohit, Upper Siang, Dibang Valley, Anjan and East Kameng districts in Arunachal,” Kali added.

The Jengthu, Kamlang and Berreng rivers are flowing above the danger level and have submerged many villages and low lying areas, displacing hundreds of people, who have taken shelter in safer places, officials said.

Meanwhile, heavy rains triggered flash floods in Assam Thursday, displacing at least 50,000 people in the state’s Lakhimpur district, officials said. No casualties have been reported.

A government spokesman said floodwaters of Singora river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra river, entered at least 50 villages, forcing residents to take shelter on raised platforms and railway tracks.

“There has been a breach of about 20 to 30 metres in two embankments and that led to floodwaters entering human settlements,” a district official said.

“So far, there are no reports of casualties from the floods. Measures are being taken to plug the breaches in the mud embankments,” the official said.

“We have sounded maximum alert and have already kept disaster management teams on standby. We are also taking stock of essentials and other commodities in the district,” the official added.

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