State grapples with flash floods, landslides

Rivers breach banks in Garo Hills region; several schools remain closed in Nongstoin


SHILLONG/ TURA/ NONGSTOIN: Scores of incidents of collapse of walls, flash flood, landslides and uprooting of trees have been reported from different parts of the state in the last couple of days following the incessant rain.
Torrential rain for the last two days across the Garo Hills region has caused landslides cutting off road connectivity in many places while several low lying areas have been inundated by the rising waters of the rivers. No loss of life has been reported.
Flash flood also resulted in landslide in parts of West Khasi Hills district forcing the school authorities to close down several schools in Nongstoin.
In Shillong, the wall of the quarters of Accountant General (AG) staff at Lumpyngngad, Motinagar collapsed on Wednesday morning and the debris fell onto as many as nine vehicles which were parked.
Following the incident, the officials of Accountant General and engineers of Central Public Works Department rushed to the spot to assess the damage.
According to the nearby shopkeepers, the incident took place at 6.45 am due to the incessant rain that washed away the wall and the debris fell on two cars, and seven two-wheelers.

a car that was damaged after the guard wall of the AG quarters in Motinagar collapsed on it and some other vehicles;

On the same day at around 3 am, a house belonging to L. Marbaniang at Lower Lumparing, Dhobi Ghat, was damaged.
As per official reports, incidents of landslide also occurred at Nongrah, Lum Dorbar in Lumparing, Wah Umkhen in Happy Valley and Lawsohtun. A minor landslide was reported at Iew Shillong, Laitlyngkot.
There were reports of collapse of footpaths at Umshing near NEHU and a pillar at MLP 1st Battalion at Mawlai Mawiong. The incidents of uprooting of trees were reported at Rilbong junction near the water supply station and at the graveyard at Lawjynriew, Nongthymmai.

The Tura-Dalu highway remains cut off for heavy vehicles on Wednesday following damage caused by landslides at 8th Mile, near Tura, due to three days of incessant rains. ST photo

Besides, water entered several houses at Pynthorumkhrah and Nongmynsong areas due to the overflowing of drains and the residents had a harrowing time since Tuesday.
In view of the situation, a meeting of the East Khasi Hills District Disaster Management Authority was held and it was decided to divide Shillong into seven zones and each team has been constituted in the seven zones which are being headed either by the Magistrate or the Block Development Officer to immediately report about any disaster in their respective zones.
The teams also comprise of experts from various departments, including PHE, PWD, Police and others and all the teams are coordinating in Whatsapp groups about the incidents so that they can quickly respond to the disasters.
Shillong, in the last five days since July 6, has witnessed 297.5 mm of rainfall whereas rainfall in Sohra has gone beyond with 958.9 mm during the same period.
Similarly, Umiam witnessed 208.3 mm of rain fall.
Sanjay Bist, Director of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Shillong said the forecast for Meghalaya is heavy to very heavy rainfall from Thursday.
The intensity of the rainfall is likely to decrease from July 12 but rain would continue till July 14.
An official report of the State Disaster Management Authority said that since April 1 till date during rain fall, altogether 853 villages in the state were affected with a total population of 57416.
Five people have also lost their lives during the same period whereas 7 people were injured. As many as 4789 houses were damaged — 333 fully, 2996 partially and 1352 severely.
In Garo Hills after a spell of rising temperatures for over a week, the monsoon has finally hit the region unleashing incessant rain since early Tuesday morning.
The rain has caused the Jinjiram river in the plains of West Garo Hills and the mighty Simsang in East and South Garo Hills to breach its banks and inundate low lying areas forcing many to move up to higher ground.
An alert is in place across the region in view of the rising water levels in Williamnagar, Baghmara, Garobadha, Phulbari, Rajabala and Bhaitbari caused by the torrential rains.
The main national highway (NH-217) connecting Tura with Dalu and Baghmara and Chokpot in south Garo Hills was cut off on Wednesday morning due to landslides at the 8th mile while in Karonggre a portion of the road has caved in. Columns of vehicles on either side lined up for hours awaiting passage while heavy machinery from the PWD got to work to clear the debris in the morning.
“There has been landslides and culverts damaged at many places on the same route but clearance work is underway. Landslides have also been reported from Spring Hills and Akonggre areas of Tura town,” informed West Garo Hills Superintendent of Police MGR Kumar.
He added that an alert has been sounded in the plains due to increasing water levels of the Jinjiram.
Though the Tura-Dalu highway road has been restored for movement of light vehicles, district administration has temporarily halted plying of trucks and other heavy vehicles through the damaged portion of the highway.
“Movement of heavy vehicles with load is temporarily prohibited on Tura-Dalu NH till the damaged portions of road is rectified and made stable by the NHIDCL. Public buses can be allowed with condition that passengers will be offloaded in weak and damaged portion of road,” stated the order by the district magistrate.
Another major blockade has been reported from the remote Siju-Rewak region of South Garo Hills where one portion of a hill came crashing down on the road, informed district officials.
“Work is underway to restore connectivity with the use of JCB earthmovers by the PWD,” informed district police chief Abraham T Sangma. Landslides have also blocked the road from Sibbari to Chokpot town and Sub-Division while debris was being cleared from another blockade at Kapasipara on the main highway to Baghmara.
The rain in the upper region of Williamnagar, Siju and Rewak has caused the Simsang river to breach its banks causing inundation of the entire Baghmara market located in the lowlands. Rescue teams from the police’s fire and emergency wing and disaster management were engaged in rescuing several stranded people from the flooded areas since Wednesday morning.
In Tura, residents and traders from one portion of Araimile market of the town have been asked to move to a safer place after a landslide exposed the place to a possible collapse.
A portion of the AMPT road in Garobadha town was submerged by the rising waters of the nearby Ganol river causing a halt to traffic, while at Selsella town vehicular movement was cut off for sometime after the Singwil river swelled its banks and flooded the road.
Authorities in Garo Hills are optimistic that situation will normalise and the water levels in all the major rivers will recede.
In Nongstoin, educational institutions like Rilyngngam Secondary School, Government LP School, New Nongstoin, BM Secondary school, New Nongstoin Secondary School and others remained closed due to heavy rain.
Several houses and shops near Nondein river were also affected due to rain.
The rain also caused disruption to road communication adding to the traffic congestion for several hours.
Heavy flash flood also occurred in Kynshi, Umyiap and other parts of West Khasi Hills.
Besides, landslide has affected normal life in several parts of West Khasi Hills.
The areas affected are Thiepjaphlang village under NH44 E Riangdo to Nongstoin that left all the vehicles stranded for hours.
Landslide also occurred at Nongstoin Bypass in Pyndengrei internal road and other parts of Nongstoin-Shillong road.
The Public Works Department (PWD) Road, Nongstoin Division could not complete the removal of debris to ease traffic along the National Highway due to the recurring land slide.
A JCB machine was covered with mud due to fresh landslide while removing debris.
The district administration has warned people who reside near river and wanted them to shift to safe areas.

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