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Friday, Dec 13, 2019

Heavy rains in Nagaland kill 12 in a month, CM seeks help from Delhi

3000 families displaced in around 400 villages; state estimates Rs 800 crore in damages.

india Updated: Aug 29, 2018 21:28 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
The Netaji Colony in Dimapur, Nagaland’s commercial capital. The state has suffered heavy damages in month-long rains.
The Netaji Colony in Dimapur, Nagaland’s commercial capital. The state has suffered heavy damages in month-long rains.(Handout photo)

Twelve people have died and thousands displaced in incessant rains in some parts of Nagaland in the past one month with chief minister Neiphiu Rio seeking Central help on Wednesday even as several other north-eastern states have seen deficient rainfall this monsoon season.

“The damage this year is unprecedented in the history,” said Temjen Toy, Chief Secretary, Nagaland, the state that had contributed Rs one crore for Kerala flood relief earlier this month.

Starting late July, the hilly state has seen the rains wrecking havoc, which 12 people lost their lives and more than 3000 families have been displaced in around 400 villages, Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority said.

In an interim report to the Centre, the state government demanded Rs 219 crore as immediate help. The officials said the demand is likely to go up to Rs 400 crore even as the damage is pegged at around Rs 800 crore as of now.

“#Nagaland needs your #help. Incessant rain has caused floods & landslides in several parts of the state & have affected many,” said Rio in a tweet.

An Indian Air Force helicopter is loaded with relief material in Nagaland.
An Indian Air Force helicopter is loaded with relief material in Nagaland. ( Handout photo )

Interestingly, the Northeast has seen a deficit rainfall this year. According to figures from the Regional Metrological Centre, Guwahati, up to August 29, Nagaland has seen a 26% deficit this season, while Assam has 30%, Meghalaya 43%, Manipur 68%, Arunachal Pradesh 46%, Tripura 17% and Mizoram 6%.

“It is the nature of the rainfall which is disruptive. It pours 100 mm in one hour,” said said Johnny Asin, officer on special duty, disaster management at the Nagaland government.

The flooding has primarily been caused because of rains in upper reaches of Nagaland leading to water level rising at the Doyang Hydro electric project in Wokha District. The release of additional water from the dam twice has resulted in flooding in the downstream areas including Golaghat district of Assam.

As many as three districts remain cut off even as the authorities have tried to divert through alternate routes. “The state of affairs is so sad that the main Dimapur to Kohima national highway is blocked,” Toy said. “We are diverting traffic through rural roads, not allowing any truck with load of more than ten tonnes,” said Johnny Asin.

Toy said all districts including Kohima and Dimapur have been affected. “About 359 locations of roads have been totally cut-off sending the state into an emergency situation,” Asin said explaining how it will take time to restore.

Kiphere, a district on the border with Myanmar is the worst affected. “We are hoping that the seven smaller trucks with 1,500 bags of rice which are on their way from Dimapur will get here by tomorrow morning. But, that will depend on if it does not rain,” said MA Shihab, the Deputy Commissioner, Kiphire.

Meanwhile, the state government is hoping for the Centre to lend a generous helping hand. “The routine grant is not going to be sufficient,” said Toy. “The entire capital outlay of the state is Rs 500 crore. This damage alone is going to cost us more,” he said, adding a inter-ministerial central team is expected to visit the state in first week of September.