Landslides triggered by heavy rains claimed 27 lives, including those of ITBP and BRO personnel in Sikkim, even as flood situation in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh deteriorated with vast areas reeling under its impact.
Official sources on Sunday said in Gangtok that at least 21 bodies, including those of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) personnel, were found while eight persons were missing following flash floods and landslides in remote areas of North Sikkim.
Army and IAF personnel have launched rescue operations in full swing in the badly affected areas.
The dead include four from the ITBP, two of their family members, and 12 junior officers from the BRO. Other victims were casual labourers, they said. Most of the casualties were reported from Rangma range.
Landslides were caused by heavy rains since September 19, deputy commissioner north district TW Khangsherpa said, adding there were about nine landslides blocking the main road between Chungthang and Mangan in the district.
In the small hours of today, another landslide occurred at an area about a kilometre from Mangan, the district headquarter town of North Sikkim, blocking NH 31-A and leaving the northern side of the Himalayan state cut off.
In Assam, flood situation deteriorated with 15 districts reeling under its impact, as large parts of Dibru-Saikhowa and Kaziranga National Parks and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary submerged. Five deaths have been reported, official sources said in Guwahati.
The surging waters of the swollen rain-fed Brahmaputra and its tributaries overran fresh areas affecting an estimated five lakh people in Dibrugarh, Sonitpur, Tinsukia, Golaghat, Morigaon, Dhemaji, Kamrup (Rural), Lakhimpur, Baksa, Barpeta, Jorhat, Nalbari, Sibsagar and Udalguri districts.
Troops of the Tezpur-headquartered Gajraj Corps swung into action in flood-hit Sonitpur district of central Assam and rescued around 1,500 civilians in the past four-five days. The IAF also dropped 2.4 tonnes of relief material.
In Sonitpur district, the Army and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) were assisting the district administration in rescue and relief operations, pressing into service 10 special boats where road communication has been snapped by the deluge, district deputy commissioner Tapan Chandra Sarma.
Tinsukia district administration has airlifted 100 marooned people in waterlogged Sadiya subdivision's Paanch Mile area and Army helicopters were airdropping food items there.
In the third wave of floods during the current year, two persons, including a woman, were washed away in Dibrugarh district yesterday, one person drowned in Demow river in Dhemaji district and two others in Tinsukia district's Dhola area on September 13.
Incessant rains in Arunachal Pradesh, Bhutan foothills and in Assam for the last 15 days, have caused the Brahmaputra and its tributaries to rise above the danger level in most places and breach river dykes, embankments and overflow into human habitats and farm land.
Over two lakh people have been affected in the fresh wave of floods in five districts of Arunachal Pradesh with majority of the rivers and tributaries flowing over the danger mark today, official sources said in Itanagar. One person died due to the floods in the state.
At least 39 marooned people, including 12 children, who were stranded between the branches of Lohit river since four days were rescued by Indian Air Force last evening, Lohit deputy commissioner RK Sharma said.
Meanwhile, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has assured Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki that the Centre would soon send a team to take stock of the damage caused by floods in the state.
Gandhi, during a meeting with the chief minister yesterday, said the Centre was aware of the worsening flood situation in Arunachal and assured all possible help to repair damage caused by sudden floods.