15 dead in Arunachal landslides; communication snapped

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Itanagar, June 14 (UNI) At least 15 people, including seven women and four children, were killed today in landslides across Arunachal Pradesh following incessant rains for the last 30 hours, throwing the transport and telecommunication networks out of gear.

Police said rescue operations were being hampered by the continued downpour, adding that the casualties could increase to over 20.

The casualty figure were so far available from Itanagar, Nirjuli and Naharlagun only, with the other areas of the state still inaccessible through roads or telephone.

Massive landslides were reported from across the state, with the National Highway as well as other state roads blocked.

People remained stranded in their homes while several houses were buried in the mudslides.

Telecommunication services, power and water services remained cut off since early morning in the capital city, with mobile phone services restored in a limited manner in the afternoon while internet connectivity still remained disrupted.

Arunachal Governor Gen (retd) J J Singh, in a statement, condoled the deaths and instructed the administration to launch rescue operations on a war footing.

He said the Deputy Commissioners had been instructed to update and implement the standard practices of disaster management, even as the administration waged a battle against the weather in rescuing the stranded people.

Pointing out that unplanned buildings had led to such massive devastation of life and property, the Governor said, ''It is not the rain that killed the people, but the mindless constructions without following safety norms that killed them.'' The government was yet to enact any building construction laws in the state.

UNI UPB-SG DPM PK CS1725

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