Meghalaya floods toll rises to 37

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Shillong, Sep 23: The toll in floods and landslides triggered by incessant rain in Meghalaya has risen to 37, while more than 20 people are still missing, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said on Tuesday.

At least eight people were killed in a landslide Tuesday in the flood-affected areas of Garo Hills.

"As many as 37 people have lost their lives, either being drowned in the floods or killed in landslides across the state. A total of 24 people are missing in Garo Hills," Sangma told IANS over phone from Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills.

"The toll is expected to rise as many are feared to have been washed away by the floods and the district administrations are yet to verify the total number of casualties," he said.

In the capital Shillong, eight people including a pregnant woman were Tuesday buried alive in Mawbah area.

Sangma, who conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas, said financial assistance from the central government would be sought for the damage caused.

Officials said the flood situation in the plain areas of Garo Hills continued to be grim Tuesday and more than a lakh people have been displaced after the swollen Brahmaputra and Jingiram rivers submerged over 200 villages.

"The situation in West Garo Hills remains grim, though water levels have receded in the worst affected areas of Chibinang and Tikrikilla. Low lying areas like Rajabala, Chibinang, Selsella, Tikrikilla, Charbatapara and Pushkurnipra are still inundated," West Garo Hills district magistrate Pravin Bakshi said.

He said the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and paramilitary forces have been pressed into the rescue operation.

Bakshi said the national highway 51 connecting Tura to Assam continued to be blocked and more than 100 vehicles carrying essential goods were stranded in Rari Mendal area due to landslides and mudslides.

The Public Works Department was clearing the debris to reconnect Tura and other districts of Garo Hills with the rest of the country, he said.

The state-owned Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited has restored electricity in some parts of Tura, but many parts of Garo Hills continued to remain in darkness.

Inspector General of Border Security Force (BSF) in charge of the Meghalaya frontier, Sudesh Kumar said the border fence and roads on the India-Bangladesh border have been damaged due to currents in places like Angratoli, Lukaichar, Kalaichar and Dipulipara.

IANS

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