Monday, August 8, 2022

13 more killed as heavy rains continue to lash M’laya


Thirteen more people, including seven minors and a Border Security Force (BSF) trooper were killed, while one more was reported missing in connection with different incidences of landslides in Meghalaya, triggered by continuous heavy rains on Friday, taking the total number of fatalities due to the landslides in the State to 33, an official said.
The IMD, in its forecast issued on Friday, said that “heavy to very heavy” rainfall will continue over Meghalaya till next Tuesday.
A government official said that eight persons, including five from a family and her four children, died in a landslide at Dangar village, another woman lost her life at Kenmynsaw village while her husband still missing, one death was reported from Boro Ryngku village and another from Betgora-A village under Mawsynram Block in East Khasi Hills district.
In another related landslide incident, three from a family and their child, died in landslides at Bolsalgre locality in Baghmara and the body of a woman was retrieved from the debris following a landslide at Siju village in South Garo Hills district. A BSF trooper was also killed in another landslide-related incident at Lalghat Border Outpost under Ranikor Block in South West Khasi Hills district.
Rescue operations are underway in affected locations. All schools in the state have been closed till June 20 due to the inclement weather. Baghmara, the district headquarters of South Garo Hills bordering Bangladesh is reeling under water, while three major bridges, one at Karukol another at Rongdik as well as the main bridge connecting Rongara were washed away by the strong waters of the Simsang River. According to officials, 5.43 lakh people have been affected in 607 villages with severe damage to houses and loss of livestock. In all 3,940 houses have been damaged, either fully or partially in the affected areas. 12 hectares of standing crop has also been affected. Almost all the districts of the state have been affected by the continuous rainfall which has thrown life out of gear causing deaths, damages to roads, bridges and highways. The government has shut down schools and colleges till June 20 and advised people to be cautious. Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma called on Union Finance Minister N Sitharaman in New Delhi and apprised her of the natural calamity in the state and sought the central government’s assistance in the ongoing flood situation, the damages on account of landslides, and loss of lives in the State and sought the support of the central government.
“Apprised Union Finance Minister Sitharaman on the ongoing flood situation, the damages on account of landslides and the loss of lives in Meghalaya. Sought the support of Government of India in this regard,” Sangma tweeted. The Chief Minister is slated to meet Home Minister Amit Shah later this evening.
Expressing sadness at the “loss of lives in the State”, the Chief Minister announced an ex gratia of Rs. 4 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.
Sangma added rescue operations are underway in affected locations.
The Chief Minister also held a virtual meeting with Chairmen of the Regional Committees, Deputy Commissioners, officials of Meghalaya Police and departments to review the situation in the districts in the last 24 hours and to chalk out the plan of action.
Sangma has called on the officials to ensure the supply of essentials, shifting of people out of high risk houses, identify more shelter homes, ensure early release of ex-gratia payment to families of the deceased and maintain road connectivity in the districts.
“Relief materials are being supplied by all the concerned departments and officials. In areas where there have been landslides efforts are on by officials to ensure these are cleared at the earliest,” the Chief Minister added.
Normal movement of traffic has been affected on National Highway 06 connecting Southern Assam’s Barak Valley, Mizoram, Tripura and parts of Manipur. Efforts are on to clear landslides in different locations.
“We are making efforts, but it will take some time. Alternative routes have been identified for light motor vehicles on this route,” the Chief Minister said about the landslides on NH 06.

Another record for Cherrapunji; 972 mm rainfall in a day

Just two days after recording 811.6 mm of rainfall in a day, Cherrapunji in Meghalaya received a bountiful 972 mm of precipitation in 24 hours ending 8.30 am on Friday, the highest in June since 1995, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
One of the wettest places in the world, Cherrapunji has recorded more than 800 mm of precipitation on a June day on nine occasions since the IMD started keeping records, the IMD data showed.
Till Friday, Cherrapunji has received a total of 4081.3 mm rainfall this month, Sunit Das, Scientist E at IMD’s regional centre in Guwahati, said.
In 24 hours ending 8:30 am on Wednesday, the town nestled in the East Khasi Hills gauged a copious 811.2 mm of rainfall. On June 16, 1995, Cherrapunji logged 1563.3 mm of rainfall. A day before, on June 15, 1995, it received 930 mm of precipitation.
“It doesn’t always rain like this. 50-60 cm is normal (in Cherrapunji) once or twice every year. But 80 cm and above is certainly not usual,” Das told PTI.
“A trough has been persisting over the region for some days and southwesterly winds have been continuously bringing a lot of moisture from the Bay of Bengal. These winds smash against the cliffs of the Khai hills and give rainfall,” he said.
Cherrapunji recorded 673.6 mm of rainfall on Thursday, 811.6 mm on Wednesday, 62.6 mm on Tuesday, 293 mm on Monday and 354 mm on Sunday.
The spell of extreme rainfall is likely to continue for one or two days. Thereafter, the intensity will decrease, the scientist said.
At an aerial distance of 10 km from Cherrapunji, Mawsynram, the wettest place in India, gauged 710.6 mm of rainfall in 24 hours ending 8:30 am Wednesday, the maximum since June 1966. On June 10, 1966, Mawsynram had recorded 717.6 mm of rainfall.
On June 7, 1966, it had received 944.7 mm of precipitation, the highest on a June day since the IMD began maintaining records.
The town had gauged a 24-hour rainfall of 623.4 mm on June 8, 2015.
“Mawsynram is at present the wettest place in India, with an average annual rainfall of 11802.4 mm (average of the 1974-2022 period). Cherrapunji receives 11359.4 mm of rainfall in a year (average of the 1971-2020 period),” Das said.
Overall, the northeast and east India has received 220.3 mm of rainfall, 39 per cent more than normal, since June 1 when the monsoon season starts.
Meghalaya has gauged 865.7 mm of rainfall, 153 per cent more than normal, since June 1.
Arunachal Pradesh has recorded 253.1 mm of rainfall, 22 per cent more than normal, while Assam has logged 372.9 mm of rainfall, an excess of 79 per cent.
However, not all states in the region have seen good rainfall. Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura have reported a rainfall deficiency of 50 per cent, 46 per cent and 38 per cent.

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