May 23, 2024

Disaster at Laptap: 14 feared dead in landslide

TAP | Updated: July 11, 2017


ITANAGAR, Jul 11: A massive landslide has reportedly buried 14 people alive at Laptap village in the state’s Sagalee subdivision Tuesday afternoon.

Laptap is 20 km from Sagalee, the sub-divisional headquarters of Papum Pare district, and almost 110 km from Itanagar.

Sagalee Additional Deputy Commissioner Jalash Pertin said the incident occurred around 2:30 pm when incessant rainfall for the past four days triggered a massive landslide, destroying five dwellings.

“One of the houses was vacant, but 14 people in the other four houses were reportedly buried alive,” Pertin said, adding that the senior members of the families were out of the village when disaster had struck.

One body have been retrieved so far from the debris. “We cannot ascertain how many died till all the bodies are recovered,” Pertin said.

A statement from the chief minister’s office said that a medical team with life saving drugs has been dispatched to Laptap while a police team led by two officers of DSP rank has also left for the village. Besides, a 35-member NDRF team has been sent to the spot to carry out rescue operations along with volunteers and villagers of the area.

Expressing deep shock and grief over the incident, Chief Minister Pema Khandu immediately put the district administration on alert and ordered urgent rescue operation to evacuate probable survivors trapped inside the debris and damaged houses.

He also asked the administration to provide all necessary assistance like food, medicine etc to the affected victims and shift them to safer locations.

Reiterating his fervent appeal to remain alert and shift from vulnerable places, Khandu said Arunachal Pradesh has been at the receiving end of nature’s fury every year. He announced ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased.

The chief minister further directed the district administration to ensure that people residing in vulnerable areas are immediately shifted to safer locations and provided with all basic amenities at least till the monsoons recede.

Governor P B Acharya also expressed shock on the report and reiterated his advice to the state government, public leaders and community elites to create more awareness and take necessary precautionary measures to avert and adapt to any man-made disaster.

Acharya, meanwhile, has also deeply condoled the tragic demise of a three-year old Late Bamang Nijar, who died after being washed away by the flood water at Senki Park area on Sunday.

Conveying his heartfelt condolence to the bereaved family, the governor has once again cautioned the people to take preventive steps to protect against natural calamities.

The governor also advised the state government, particularly department of disaster management to create more awareness and take necessary precautionary measures to avert and adapt to any man-made disaster.

The state BJP has also expressed deep sadness over the incident.

This is the second major incident at Sagalee subdivision since July 4 when an IAF helicopter on flood rescue mission had crashed landed killing all the four members on board.

Due to incessant rain, various parts of Sagalee subdivision have been totally cut off from the rest of world since June. Most of the roads have been eroded by flash floods or blocked due to landslides.

Strategic roads such as Doimukh-Kheel, Kheel-Sagalee, Kheel-Yazali via Ampoli, Yazali-Mengio and Hoj-Kheel have remained cut off with even the PWD executive engineer stranded at Sagalee for a week now.

Meanwhile, former chief minister Nabam Tuki met Khandu and his deputy Chowna Mein to apprise them of the situation arising out of shortage of essential commodities, particularly medicines.

Traffic advisory: Rainfall-induced damage to road network has made the Capital Complex administration come out with an advisory in a bid to avoid traffic congestion and inconvenience to the people.

Accordingly, one-way vehicular traffic from Naharlagun to Itanagar will be diverted through Jully while vehicles from Itangar to Naharlagun will be allowed on NH-415.

The Pangin-Pasighat stretch of Trans Arunachal Highway, which was blocked at many points due to heavy landslides for the past two days, has been re-opened for vehicular traffic movement. An alternative route has been carved out from the old highway area at Kardong near Pangin village that was hit by landslide.

Siang district DC Rahul Singh, on the other hand, met landowners towards carving out an alternative route to a blocked highway. He also inspected the block points with AE Highway Ibrahim Pajing and executives of TK Engineering Consortium for removal of debris and making the highway usable within four days.

Health measures: Capital Complex DC Prince Dhawan on Tuesday directed health officials to take adequate measures to prevent water-borne diseases in the twin cities. He has also directed them to ensure adequate medicines and to ensure spraying of insecticides or insect repellents across the Capital Complex.

The DC has also notified few locations as relief camps at all the vulnerable areas of the Capital Complex after meeting the councillors. Terming the safety of the lives of the people as priority, the DC urged the councillors to immediately facilitate the evacuation of people residing in vulnerable locations to a safer place or to relief camp. 

The notified relief camps in Itanagar are Kingcup School, Garden Dew School, Gyan Ganga School, Revival Church Akashdeep, Vivekananda Hall RKM Hospital, VKV School, Holy Cross School, Zion Kids School, and  Abu Talang Memorial School.

The Naharlagun camps are Abotani Vidya Niketan, Government Secondary School (Pachin), KV 1, St. Thomas School, Government Middle School, Multipurpose Complex, Government Higher Secondary School, Kanker Nallah, Nyokum Niya hall, Government Secondary School, Royal International School. Government Middle School Dikrong is the relief camp for Banderdewa area.

Schools closed: The DC has also ordered the closure of all schools within the Capital Complex for a week or till further orders. The step was necessitated for the safety and security of the students, he said.

The DC further ordered the banning earth-cutting and warned those carrying out the illegal activity of stern action. The DC also said that toll free number 1077 has been issued by the DDMA as a 24-hour helpline and sought cooperation from everyone.