The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shillong in grip of rain torrent
- Teenager swept away in flash floods

Shillong, Oct. 10: Incessant rainfall today caused flash floods and landslides in the Meghalaya capital and elsewhere in the state.

A 14-year-old girl was washed away by the surging waters of the Umshyrpi river near Parmaw (Dhobi Ghat). Unconfirmed reports said two more persons met with a similar fate.

The Met office said Shillong received as much as 188.8 mm of rain in the morning alone. It raised the water level of the Umiam reservoir in Barapani to 3,210 feet above sea level.

The capital town was cut off from the rest of the country for several hours when a series of landslides blocked the Guwahati-Shillong road and the Jowai-Badarpur road. The debris was, however, cleared by the Border Road Task Force and Meghalaya police by the evening.

Educational institutions in the city remained closed, as it was virtually impossible for students and teachers to reach their destinations. The submerged areas include Pynthorbah, Mawlai-Nongmali, 4th and 5th Furlong, Nongmynsong and Parmaw, near Lumparing.

Police, fire brigade and Central Reserve Police Force personnel, backed by teams of volunteers, evacuated marooned residents of several localities that were swamped by water.

The police identified the girl who was washed away as Samina Khatun. Her body had not been recovered till late tonight.

The legislator from Pynthorumkhrah, A.L. Hek, said the swollen Umkhrah river in Polo washed away over 50 heads of cattle. “Many people have lost their houses and have nothing to wear or eat. Everything has been washed away,” he said.

The legislator stressed the need to initiate steps to check the recurrence of floods in the area every year. He urged the Union water resource ministry to sanction adequate funds for the purpose.

Adding to the chaos caused by floods were landslides in Malki-Dhankheti, Upper Shillong and Laitumkhrah. Property worth crores of rupees was damaged in Shillong and other parts of the state, including in Ri War, the Jaintia Hills and West Khasi Hills districts.

Chief minister D.D. Lapang told the media that the government would adequately compensate the families rendered homeless by the flash floods. He said relief would be provided to the affected families based on a report compiled by the district administration.

The deputy commissioner of East Khasi Hills, D.P. Wahlang, said later that the situation had been “brought under control” and a complete assessment of the damage to property was under way. He said the police and the civil administration were working in tandem and had succeeded in preventing further damage. Magistrates have been entrusted with the task of assessing the damage caused by the flash floods.

Rain played havoc in Upper Assam, too, affecting road links with the rest of the state, our Jorhat correspondent reports.

Continuous showers over the past 48 hours led to the National Highway 37 being flooded in the Latabari area. A senior official of Bokakhat subdivision of Golaghat district said messages had been sent to all district headquarters to suspend night bus services on the route.

The floods have been caused by the overflowing Difloo river.

Last night, vehicles plying on the route were stranded in the Burhapahar area for several hours because of landslides. Night buses from Guwahati to Upper Assam reached Jorhat only at noon. Traffic was disrupted near Meesa in Nagaon district, too. A huge tree fell across the road, blocking the way for several hours.

Officials at Kaziranga National Park, which opened its gates to tourists on October 1, said several areas of the wildlife habitat had been flooded.

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