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Calamities hit Northeast, 27 dead in landslides

Landslides triggered by heavy rains claimed 27 lives, including those of Indo-Tibetan Border Police [ITBP] and Border Road Organisation [BRO] personnel in Sikkim, even as flood situation in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh deteriorated with vast areas reeling under its impact.

The official sources said in Gangtok on Sunday that at least 21 bodies, including those of the ITBP and the BRO personnel, were found while eight persons were missing, following flash floods and landslides in remote areas of North Sikkim.

The army and the Indian Air Force personnel have launched rescue operations in full swing in the badly affected areas.

The dead include four from the ITBP, two of their family members, and 12 junior officers from the BRO. Other victims were labourers, the officials said. Most of the casualties were reported from Rangma range.

Landslides were caused by heavy rains that have lashed the area since 19 September, the deputy commissioner [north district] T W Khangsherpa said, adding that there were about nine landslides blocking the main road between Chungthang and Mangan in the district.

In Assam, the flood situation deteriorated with 15 districts reeling under its impact, as large parts of Dibru-Saikhowa and the Kaziranga National Parks and the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary submerged. Five deaths have been reported, official sources said in Guwahati.

The surging waters of the swollen rain-fed Brahmaputra and its tributaries overran fresh areas affecting an estimated five lakh people in Dibrugarh, Sonitpur, Tinsukia, Golaghat, Morigaon, Dhemaji, Kamrup [Rural], Lakhimpur, Baksa, Barpeta, Jorhat, Nalbari, Sibsagar and Udalguri districts.

Troops of the Tezpur-headquartered Gajraj Corps swung into action in flood-hit Sonitpur district of central Assam and rescued around 1,500 civilians in the past four-five days. The IAF also dropped 2.4 tonnes of relief material.
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