The death toll of a massive landslide at a railway construction site in Manipur's Noney district rose to 20 on Friday as 12 more bodies were recovered from the debris, officials said.
The incident took place at Tupul yard railway construction camp on Wednesday night. The massive debris has blocked the Ijei River, creating a reservoir that may inundate low-lying areas.
Ten of the 20 deceased are Territorial Army (TA) personnel. Forty-three people continue to be missing. Among them, 16 are from Assam, and the state government has dispatched a minister to Manipur to oversee the rescue and treatment of Assamese people in the trajedy.
Status of the rescue opeartion
A spokesperson for the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Friday said a total of three NDRF teams and those from the Indian Army, Manipur Police, and local administration are working at the site.
Search operations are underway, officials said.
Thirteen Territorial Army personnel and five civilians have been rescued so far, according to an official.
Eastern Command General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Lt Gen RP Kalita met the injured TA personnel who were initially admitted to Liemakong Military Hospital on Thursday. They are now being provided medical aid at the Assam Rifles Hospital at Mantripukhri, another official said.
How have governments responded?
Manipur's Chief Minister N Biren Singh had announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each for those injured.
Governor La Ganesan condoled the deaths and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
"Due to the unfortunate landslide where casualties are being reported and dozens buried alive, the flow of the Ijei River has also been obstructed by the debris, creating a dam-like storage condition, which if breached will wreak havoc to the low-lying areas of Noney district headquarters,” an advisory issued by the deputy commissioner said on Thursday.
It added, "As the condition is still developing and the future is unknown, the general public is hereby advised to take their own precautions, and especially ensure children do not come out near the river. Whoever can evacuate are also advised to evacuate."
It also advised travellers to avoid National Highway-37 due to multiple road blockages.
Assam's Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has also dispatched state minister Pijush Hazarikia to Manipur to oversee rescue operations of the stranded people from Assam. One of the deceased is a resident of Assam. Sarma said another five persons from Assam have been rescued from under the debris and are undergoing treatment in Manipur.
Among people believed to me missing, 16 are from Assam, according to Sarma.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said nine jawans from her state have lost their lives in the incident.
"Shocked to know that nine jawans of the Darjeeling hills (107 Territorial Army unit) are among the casualties in the Manipur landslide. Deeply mourn the demise and extend all solidarity and support to the next of kin. Heartfelt condolences," Banerjee tweeted.
(With PTI inputs)