At least 18 people were killed and more feared dead, after days of heavy rainfall set off a landslide in India’s remote and mountainous northeastern state of Manipur.
This is the latest tragedy for a country that has been ravaged by flooding and severe rainfall in recent months. Extreme weather has ravaged communities, forced evacuations, and threatened lives.
Friday saw rescue workers in Manipur still searching for dozens more people. They were immediately buried under layers mud and rocks over Wednesday night when the landslide took place in the Noney District. Indian television stations showed rescue workers carrying mud-covered bodies on stretchers.
Many of the victims and others still under rubble are people who were in the area to build a railroad station deep within the mountains. Some were soldiers in India’s Army. Others were railway workers or local villagers.
“The entire country is deeply saddened by loss of lives,” Nongthombam Biren Singh, the chief minister of Manipur State, said on Friday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he had reviewed the situation in Manipur and had assured Mr. Singh of “all possible support” from the central government. “I pray for the safety of all those affected,” he said. “My thoughts are with the bereaved families.”
Weeks of heavy rainfall from the monsoons have already killed more than 100 people and left millions homeless in India’s northeast and in neighboring Bangladesh. In May, more than 60 people died in flooding, landslides, and thunderstorms. Many people were left without food or water as a result. The internet was cut off to isolate them.
It takes extensive scientific analysis to tie climate change to extreme weather events. But climate change can be a contributing factor.
Scientists claim that India and Bangladesh are vulnerable to climate changes due to their proximity with the warm tropical waters of India Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. Both countries are increasingly experiencing heat waves. According to a January study published by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (Pune), rising sea temperatures have resulted in dry conditions in certain parts of the Indian subcontinent, and significant increases in rainfall in others.
In India’s northeastern state of Assam, one of the worst affected areas during the pre-monsoon and monsoon season, a paramilitary camp was inundated by floodwaters on Friday after persistent rain over the last three days.
India Meteorological Department predicted heavy rains in at least 20 states over the next 24hrs, including Assam and Manipur, Meghalaya Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Tripura. The heavy rains also delayed flights and submerged roads in India’s capital, New Delhi, on Thursday.
Source: NY Times