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Five die in Sikkim mudslide

Gangtok, Sept. 2: Four members of a family and their guest were buried alive on Saturday night after a mudslide triggered by heavy rainfall, swept away their house at Mangchek village in South Sikkim.

The deceased are Chandra Bahadur Chettri, 62, his 50-year-old wife, daughters Duka Devi, 13 and Tika Devi, 7. The fifth victim was identified as Lal Bahadur Rai, 15, a friend of Chandra Bahadurís son Devi Lal who was staying with the family.

Devi Lal, 15, is the only survivor. He was extracted from the slush by rescue workers this morning and rushed to Namchi district hospital.

The eldest and youngest sons were not at home yesterday night.

Mangchek village falls under the Ravangla subdivision, and is 40km from the south district headquarters of Namchi.

The bodies of the five victims were dug out from the debris by rescue workers and later cremated in the presence of local villagers and officials. Ravangla subdivisional magistrate P.K. Rai said a team from the subdivision, the Namchi disaster management cell, police and IRB jawans had been pressed into the rescue and recovery operation with the help of local villagers.

Rai informed that the landslides damaged several houses in Ralong, including the local secondary school. Many families have been shifted to the houses of relatives, he said. Locals have informed that slides have also broken out at Dalam, Namlung, Lingding and other places in Lower Ralong.

People of Ralong said the slides were caused because of heavy rainfall and a bad drainage system. Half a dozen houses have been damaged along with loss of cattle and crops, they added.

Continuous downpour has caused several landslides in the area and rescue and relief operations were carried throughout the day, said disaster management district project officer Pempa Norbu Sherpa.

The road connecting to Ralong is completely damaged and total extent of the natural calamity would be ascertained only after visiting all the affected areas, he said.

All essential supply lines are disrupted in the landslide affected areas of Ralong and heavy rains have also hampered rescue and restoration works, it was informed.

Area MLA Sonam Gyatso Bhutia visited Mangchek village with 30-40 volunteers from neighbouring villages to assist in the rescue and relief operations.