Diksha Thapa (25) , a worker at Tingling Tea Garden and a resident of Limbudhura, 2 km off the Mirik-Siliguri state highway, is thanking God as some of her family members escaped miraculously even as the landslide killed 19 of her neighbours.
Diksha and four other members of her family – father Nandey, mother Chandrakala, grandmother Sibamaya and 10-year-old niece Sima are among the few lucky ones who survived the landslide. The house of Diksha has been totally damaged while four members in the Thapa family – her immediate neighbours – were buried.
Diksha narrated her nightmare to HT and how she could manage to save other members in the family who were in deep sleep.
She said, “It was past 2 am on Wednesday when I was looking for medicine for my niece who is in Class 4. The rain that started at 9 pm on Tuesday was intensifying. There was complete darkness as there was a power cut immediately after the rain started. I could not sleep due to the lightning and thunderstorm. At 2 am I found my niece was having fever and I started moving in the tin and wooden house for medicines. Just after 2 am, some abnormal sound came and I got worried. In no time the mud and stones started hitting our kitchen. And it was at that time that I realised that our lives were at risk. I could faintly hear the cry for help coming from Subhasna Thapa’s (23) home.”
“There was a lightning and in that light I saw tons of mud coming down. I started running helter-skelter and knocked on the door of the rooms in which my parents and grandmother were asleep. I carried my niece and moved out. Immediately after we all came out, a huge landslide hit our house and damaged it completely.
After another lightening, I saw my neighbour Subhasna’s house getting completely destroyed by the landslide. All the four members in Subhasna’s house got buried under the debris.
Talking about Subhasna, Diksha said, “We were together till 10 pm on Tuesday and she was trying to get admission to her MA. Subhasna was surfing the internet on her mobile phone and was looking for colleges offering MA. But fate had something else in store for her.”
Subhasna’s house was in front of Diksha’s and so she and her family members were safe. “Had their house not been in front of ours, the landslide would have first hit us and killed all of us.” Subhasna’s house, which is buried in the debris, reduced the impact of the mud. Therefore, we managed to flee.”