21 killed as landslides ravage Assam's Barak Valley

Hailakandi/Karimganj/Silchar, Jun 2 (PTI) Torrential rains triggered massive landslides in three districts of Assam's Barak valley on Tuesday, dumping mountains of mud, swamping homes and snuffing out at least 21 lives, officials said.

Three families were almost entirely wiped out, while 17 people were injured in Hailakandi, Karimganj and Cachar districts.

Eight people, including five of a family, died in Hailakandi district.

Loosened by incessant rain, a hillside came crashing down on the tin-roofed house of Kuton Mia Laskar (40) early morning, killing him, his wife Jhumpa Begum (35), and three daughters Hazira (five), Nazira (four) and Tuli (three) in Mohanpur village, around 15 km from Hailakandi town.

Two other landslides killed Rupchand Sarkar and Matiur Rahman Laskar in Chandipur grant area, while Chandmoni Maal (6) died in a separate mudslide in Mohanpur, officials said.

Five people were also injured in these three incidents.

Seven members of a family were smothered under mounds of mud that flattened their home when they were asleep in Kolarpur village of neighbouring Cachar district. Two others were injured, police said.

The deceased were identified as Tamiz Mia Laskar (50), his wife Taimur Nesa Laskar (45), their two daughters Alia Begum Laskar(25), Sumona Begum (11) and their three sons Rehimuddin (18), Alom Hussain (20) and Arifuddin (17), district SP Monoranjan Debroy said.

Two others seriously injured were rescued by police and locals who dug through the debris with shovels and bare hands, as people wailed in despair and the village lay in a welter.

A pre-dawn tragedy struck Karimpur in Karimganj district, when another hillside collapsed on the house of Ajiruddin (57), burying him and four members of his family around 3:30 a.m. Others who died with Ajiruddin were his wife Razia Begam (40), their two sons Aftar Hussian (10), Anwaruddin(7) and daughter Tahera Begam(5), said district Superintendent of Police Kumar Sanjit Krishna.

A girl, Jaynal Bibi (15), died in another house in the same area, he said.

Ten people were rescued by police and state disaster department personnel, and rushed to a hospital.

Chaos prevailed everywhere as people frantically searched for friends and relatives, removing the rubble with hands and buckets before police and SDRF teams moved in with excavators and other heavy machinery.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal condoled the deaths and asked the district administrations to undertake quick relief and rehabilitation measures for those affected. He also asked them to ensure proper treatment to those hospitalised.

'Deeply anguished at the loss of lives due to landslides triggered by incessant rain in Barak valley. I have directed Cachar, Hailakandi & Karimganj district administrations and SDRF to step up rescue, relief operations and facilitate all possible help needed to those affected.' PTI cor ESB SK SK SK