Cyclone Remal effect: 22 dead in Mizoram stone quarry collapse, landslides
The quarry that collapsed is located between Melthum and Hlimen, on the southern outskirts of Aizawl town | X/ANI

Cyclone Remal effect: 22 dead in Mizoram stone quarry collapse, landslides

The rain was reportedly triggered by Cyclone Remal that claimed six lives in West Bengal and 16 in Bangladesh besides causing widespread destruction

At least 22 people, including 13 in a collapsed stone quarry, were killed in Mizoram on Tuesday (May 28) due to landslides and incessant rain in the aftermath of Cyclone Remal, officials said.

In a massive landslide, at least 13 people, including two minors, were killed and eight others were missing as a stone quarry collapsed in Aizawl district, a report of the Mizoram State Disaster Management Authority (MSDMA) said.

The incident occurred around 6 am in an area between Melthum and Hlimen on the southern outskirts of the Aizawl town, an official said. The report stated that several houses and worker camps caved in due to the impact of the landslide, burying at least 21 people beneath the debris.

The rain was reportedly triggered by Cyclone Remal that claimed six lives in West Bengal and 16 in Bangladesh besides causing widespread destruction across the region.

'13 bodies recovered'

"So far, 13 bodies have been recovered and eight people are still missing. Among the deceased in the stone quarry collapse are a four-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl," a police officer said.

Aizawl's Deputy Commissioner Nazuk Kumar told PTI that the search operations will continue till the entire site is cleared.

Earlier in the day, Director General of Police Anil Shukla claimed that 17 bodies were recovered from the collapsed stone quarry.

"We suspect that 6-7 people are still trapped inside the debris," he told PTI, adding that heavy rain was affecting the rescue operations at the disaster site.

He said the rains triggered landslides at several other places in the state and at least two persons have been "swept away".

Among the victims of the stone quarry collapse are a four-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl, another police officer said. "We have also rescued two persons alive from the site," he said.

Compensation announced

Chief Minister Lalduhoma announced Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia for the families of those killed in calamities caused by rains, including the quarry collapse.

He handed over cheques of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the eight Mizo people who died in the quarry collapse and said the remaining amount would be given to them soon.

Home Minister K Sapdanga told PTI, "The identities of the four non-tribal people are being verified. If they are permanent residents of Mizoram, they will be given the ex-gratia amount. If they came here temporarily to work, then they will not get any financial support." Lalduhoma said the government has earmarked Rs 15 crore to tackle disasters triggered by rains, which occurred as an aftereffect of cyclone Remal.

Later, Lalduhoma along with Sapdanga, who also handles the Disaster Management and Rehabilitation Department, visited the stone quarry site to take stock of the situation and oversee the rescue operations.

Bengal disaster

Earlier, six persons were killed in West Bengal, which bore the maximum brunt in India of cyclone Remal whose fury damaged nearly 30,000 houses and felled over 2,100 trees and 1,700 electric poles, media reports said.

Much of the devastation was reported from the south coastal areas of the state.

The West Bengal administration shifted 2,07,060 people to 1,438 safe shelters, an official said. District authorities opened scores of gruel kitchens to serve the homeless.

Deaths in Bengal

The affected areas included Kakdwip, Namkhana, Sagard Island, Diamond Harbour, Fraserganj, Bakkhali and Mandarmani.

The cyclone led to minor breaches of embankments but these were set right almost immediately.

While one person died in Kolkata, two women were killed in South 24-Parganas district and one person died in Panihati in North 24-Parganas district. A father and son were killed in Memari in Purba Medinipur.

The power-packed winds also damaged 48 polling stations, mostly in North and South 24 Parganas districts where the final phase of the Lok Sabha elections is due on June 1, news agencies reported.

Bangladesh ravaged

Bangladesh, which borders West Bengal, suffered the most due to cyclone Remal, with hundreds of villages inundated following powerful winds of up to 120 kmph and storm surges.

Even when it weakened, the cyclone still unleashed wind speeds of 80-90 km per hour after landfall around midnight of Sunday, the Met Department said.

It lashed Bangladesh’s coastlines, levelling thousands of homesteads, smashing seawalls besides flooding scores of villages and towns along the southwestern shorelines.

Deaths in Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s junior minister for disaster management and relief, Mohibur Rahman, said 10 people were killed while the storm affected more than 3.75 million people.

But most media tally put the death toll at 16. While some of the victims drowned, others perished due to collapsing houses.

The cyclone was accompanied by gusty winds and heavy rains, affecting areas including Barisal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Satkhira and Chattogram.

Patuakhali worst hit

The worst hit was southwestern Patuakhali town where the wind speeds measured 111 km per hour.

“The crashing waves virtually washed away everything as it proceeded through the area, particularly the Khepupara sub-district,” PTI quoted an official in Patuakhali as saying.

The cyclone-driven surges also breached a major town protection embankment on Manpura Island, inundating most parts of the island.

Power outages

Heavy downpours lashed most of Bangladesh, including Dhaka, which also suffered from electricity disruptions.

Power Minister officials said that nearly 3 million people in Bangladesh were without electricity. Separately, the rural power authority has cut off electricity to 15 million people in coastal areas, media reports said.

According to the Met Office, the cyclone has moved northward, crossing the coast and was currently positioned near Koira in Khulna.

Heavy rains

Remal is the first cyclone in the Bay of Bengal ahead of this year’s monsoon season which runs from June to September.

It hit Bangladesh’s coastal zone after 8 pm on Sunday, packing speeds of up to 135 km per hour.

Monday saw heavy to very heavy rainfall with wind gusts in most parts of Bangladesh. Coastal areas experienced waves as high as 5 to 6 feet.

After that, the cyclone was expected to weaken in intensity. But fishermen were asked to stay away from the sea until Tuesday.

Schools closed

The storm forced authorities to close Bangladesh’s three seaports including at Chittagong and the airport in Chattogram, the second largest city, BSS News reported.

Like in Mizoram and Meghalaya in India, Bangladesh also ordered the closure of all schools in the storm-hit region. Many schools turned into temporary shelters.

Meghalaya scene

In Meghalaya, the State Disaster Management Authority said that extremely heavy rainfall and squally wind with 40-50 kmph of speed were likely to occur at isolated places over East Jaintia, East Khasi, South West Khasi, West Jaintia, West Khasi hills districts.

Meghalaya deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong said the government was fully prepared to tackle the cyclone and provide assistance to people.

Tripura hit

Heavy rains also lashed Tripura on Monday due to Remal, forcing authorities to axe 11 flights from capital Agartala due to bad weather.

The India Meteorological Department issued a red alert in the districts of Sepahijala and Gumati.

Tripura received average rainfall of 40.73 mm on Monday with West Tripura district recording the highest of 59.50 mm. The railways cancelled a few trains for Monday and Tuesday on account of the cyclone.

(With agency inputs)

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