A road in Kohima after landslide. Photo: Bhadra Gogoi

Heavy rains coupled with landslides for the last few days created havoc in Nagaland. State capital Kohima and many district headquarters are on the verge of being cut off completely by landslides.

Nagaland chief secretary Temjen Toy said the state is under emergency-like situation due to rains and landslides. Toy held an emergency meeting of high officials in Kohima on Tuesday to take stock of the alarming situation arising out of unremitting monsoon rain in the state.

Five boys, all aged 7 to 8 years, drowned in a stream in Aghunato subdivision under Zunheboto district. According to reports reaching here, they were students of Eden Boarding School and went missing on Sunday. They had reportedly gone swimming to Tsutha stream earlier on Sunday. The bodies of two of the boys, identified as Hosheto and Tsukhuto, were recovered by a search team of villagers from the stream on Monday. Search for the other three was on.

A 14-year-old girl was swept away by strong river current at Dzucharu Dzuvo in Phesama under Kohima district on Sunday. Her body was recovered on Monday.

The incessant heavy rain over the past one month has devastated the state, causing severe damage to major roads, loss of properties and agriculture. As a result many major roads connecting district headquarters and other major towns have been cut off in different parts of the state.

Seven major roads in Kohima were blocked by mudslides on Monday. Landslides and mudslides were reported to have damaged several homes and triggered heavy traffic jam in the capital. The Sanuorü bridge on the Secretariat Road, inaugurated in August last year, collapsed on Monday morning as a result of the landslide.

The chief secretary asked the high-ranking officials of the state, who attended the meeting, to put in more efforts so that major roads connecting all district headquarters are not completely cut off. He directed the department concerned to ensure that at least one lifeline should be maintained to connect the towns.  He also discussed threadbare with the officers about impending danger of shortage of essential commodities and fuel.

Reviewing the road connectivity between Kohima and Dimapur, Toy urged the Nagaland public works department officers to deploy adequate manpower and machineries to fight against fury of the nature – landslides and sinking of the roads caused by the incessant rains. He said he is in touch with top army officers and other agencies to get their assistance if situation goes out of control.

Toy said they are willing to extend assistance to the state agencies. Essential commodities will be airdropped, if situation called for, in those areas which had remained completely cut off for days, he informed.

The chief secretary also expressed worry over impounding water at Sidzu river following a major landslide that completely blocked river. It has caused imminent threat to the habitations downstream, he said.

The Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority (NSDMA) officials informed the meeting that precautionary measures have been taken.

Toy asked the NSDMA to take necessary action to see that there is no loss of life or to at least minimise the damage by taking adequate pre-emptive measures.

“At this time of emergency-like situation, I strongly urge all the agencies to remain united and alert,  saying the onus at this time of emergency is lies not only with a few departments such as NPWD, NSDMA, administration and police,” the chief secretary said.

Nagaland commissioner M Patton said, as per report from deputy commissioners, the situation is very alarming and added that coordinated action is the need of the hour he said. Patton also said he is updating the situation with district administration round-the-clock.

Nagaland DGP, John Longkumer said all the SPs and battalion headquarters have been directed to remain on high alert to extend all assistance when called for.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com

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