Two people were buried alive by debris at Shillong Police Reserve after a landslide struck due to incessant rainfall in the state over the past few days.
The deceased have been identified as Sonitopon K Marak (26) and Silnang R Marak (26), who hail from Goalpara district in Assam.
The two were involved in clean-up work after an earlier landslide at the same site, which borders Wahingdoh. The two were then killed in a second landslide at around 11:30am. Police, Fire Service personnel and those from the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) recovered the two bodies. Nine families have been evacuated from the area to safer ground, police informed.
Meanwhile, there are fears for one Banshanlang Ryngad, who went missing after reportedly being carried away by a strong current in the Wahumkhrah River. Search operations had to be called off as the water level became dangerously high. The search will continue tomorrow.
In another incident, three children were rescued and taken to NEIGRIHMS for treatment after a landslide at Mawlai Umthlong, while one Ambrose Umdor (32) of Mawlai Nongpathaw was taken to Shillong Civil Hospital after he received injuries following the collapse of a tree in Mawlai Mawroh.
In other parts of the state capital and its surrounding areas, a section of Third Mile was cordoned off and people evacuated after a landslide in the neighbourhood. There was also a landslip in Nongrimbah, Laitumkhrah that damaged the house of Newlin Sohtun. No casualties were reported but the family was evacuated. A retaining wall in the residence of Subodh Choudhary in RR Colony collapsed but there were no casualties. Trees were also uprooted at Lawjynriew Mawpat, Rhino Point and Mawïong Marten. Meanwhile, large amounts of debris, including cow dung, were swept by the rain onto Zigzag Road in Rilbong, which required clearing. Damage to the Riangdo-Bamil, Mawshynrut-Thaiem and Mawshynrut-Hahim roads were also reported.
The rains did not spare Ri-Bhoi either where one building housing a tea shop close to the Umran River collapsed today at Umnget village on National Highway 6. The incident occurred at around 10am after a landslide.
The building was owned by one Romesh L Nonglait, whose two brothers had a miraculous escape from the disaster, and no casualties were reported.
The parlous state of road infrastructure in Garo Hills also took a battering, with one bridge in Dumnikura, South Garo Hills being washed away this morning, while another in Lower Gasuapara, also in South Garo Hills, was teetering on the brink of collapse.
The wooden Dumnikara bridge, built on the Daldam River, was already in a weakened state and tore itself to pieces in the surging river waters.
While a few wooden bridges on National Highway 62 have been converted into modern concrete structures, many are still made of wood, which find it difficult to withstand Meghalaya’s powerful monsoons.
There were also reports of a road being blocked in the Rongrak area due to a landslide. Residents of the area will therefore need to take the Nangalbibra route in order to travel to other districts, which increases their journey by 150 kilometres.
A border road that had been closed due to Covid-19 protocols was reopened temporarily to help the public.
“Due to the situation, the border road has been opened for traffic as the other routes are not usable. We are trying to rectify the situation at the earliest,” said the Deputy Commissioner.