Landslides kill five in Ri-Bhoi district, one in Sohra

Shillong, June 17: Major landslides triggered by incessant rain killed atleast six persons – five in Ri-Bhoi district and one in Sohra Civil Sub Division today.

In Ri-Bhoi district, a landslide at Tharia village under Umiam police station killed five persons, leaving several others injured, and one person is still missing, officials said.

The disaster struck Tharia village under Um´am Industrial Area, at around 5 am today when many residents were still sleeping.

Sources closed to the rescue team said that the landslide at Tharia engulfed the staff quarters of a local Plywood Factory and nearby houses of local inhabitants in the Industrial area.

Incessant rain in the last few days has triggered massive landslide and soil erosion in many places.

An official said that four bodies were retrieved from the place of occurrence, while one among the injured persons, succumbed to injuries on the way to hospital.

Till filing of the report, one person is still missing.

According to Ri-Bhoi Deputy Commissioner, C.P. Gotmare, among the injured persons, one was referred to NEIGRIHMS, two to Ganesh Das Hospital and six to Civil Hospital, Shillong for treatment.

Gotmare said that a magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident to be headed by additional district magistrate, D. Phawa.

Two of the deceased were labourers of Plywood Factory at Tharia identified as Loba Mahanta (25) and his wife, Babbi Mahanta (19) while the third victim, a minor has been identified as Santi Lama (12). The fourth victim of the tragedy succumbed to his injuries at Civil Hospital, Shillong. He was identified as Buna Lama (13).

Earlier in the day, when the rescue operation was still one, two persons, Kristina Lama (60) and Reena Lama (mother and daughter) were confirmed to have been missing.

However, later, at 6.30 pm, the body of a woman identified as Reena Lama was recovered by the rescue operation team, raising the death toll to five.

The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) of the Meghalaya Directorate of Civil Defence and Home Guards, quickly swung into action after receiving information about the disaster and engaged in rescue operations along with personnel of the Fire and Emergency Services and local inhabitants.

Deputy Controller of Civil Defence, P.H. Khongsngi was leading the rescue team of the SDRF.
During the day, the rescue operation was hampered due to inclement weather. As rainfall continued in the area, it posed threat to the rescue team.

“The area affected by landslide is below a landfill, and a stream flows near the place of occurrence,” sources said, adding that four members of the SDRF were deployed downstream to locate a body if it is swept downstream.

The operations has been be suspended and likely to resume on Sunday if weather permits as rescue workers cannot risk working at night due to standard safety protocols.

Home Guards officials also visited the affected area and took stock of the situation.

Meanhile in another tragedy, a girl child was killed after a house was totally washed away by landslide at Lumkyntong village near Mawjrong under Sohra police station.

The child, Rishisha Mary Sohtun (2 years 10 months) was buried under debris, while her mother and father escaped with minor injury.

The incident occurred at around 3.30 am when all the three (father, mother and daughter) were in deep sleep.

Major landslides also took place in several places under Sohra Civil Sub Divison following heavy rain.
The SDO said that major landslides were reported along Umstew-Wahkaba road, Tyrna, as well as Umtyngar area. The landslide at Umtyngar blocked the Shillong-Sohra road for nearly four hours, leaving many vehicles stranded on the road. The debris was cleared later.

A suspension bridge built over Umthoin river that linked the people of Tyllap village and Mawbang village has also collapsed.

Flash flood at Shella and Ichamati was also reported.

Meanwhile tourists who wish to visit tourist spots in Sohra area, have been advised to be cautious as landslide may occur anytime due to heavy rain. The authorities have also asked workers going to mining sites and general people to be on alert.


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