Manipur landslide: 42 dead, 20 missing as rescue operations continue

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Rescue operations underway at Manipur's TulImage source, BBC Hindi
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The landslide hit the remote region late on Wednesday

Rescue teams in the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur are searching for 20 missing people, days after a massive landslide.

More than 40 people have died so far in the landslide, which hit a railway construction site late on Wednesday.

The victims were mostly labourers and members of a volunteer force of the Indian Army.

Officials say heavy rains and fresh landslides have hampered rescue efforts.

Monsoon rains have triggered severe floods in India's north-eastern states, particularly in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura.

The impact has been particularly severe in Assam, where more than 150 people have died in floods and landslides. Millions have been displaced.

Last week's landslide, which occurred in Noney district in Manipur, was caused by "incessant rains", a government official told news agency ANI.

Eighteen people were pulled out alive from the accident site over the weekend. But officials present at the site told BBC Hindi's Salman Ravi that only a "miracle" could save more lives.

They said that the amount of debris at the site and the wetness of the soil made it difficult to use heavy machinery in the area to search for victims.

Image source, BBC Hindi
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The victims include, labourers, villagers and army personnel

Rescue workers were instead using radar technology to search for people still buried in the debris.

The site of the landslide was part of a railway line being constructed to connect Jiribam district in Manipur with state capital Imphal.

A company of the 107 Territorial Army - a volunteer reserve force of the Indian Army - had been deployed to protect the construction site at the time the landslide took place.

Of the 42 bodies recovered from the debris, 27 were army personnel while the 15 others included workers, railway employees and villagers, The Quint reported.

Image source, BBC Hindi
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Locals say a number of migrant labourers were working at the site

Locals told the BBC that the labourer camp included a number of workers from other states whose names were not known and whose documents were unavailable.

Manipur's chief minister N Biren Singh has called the tragedy "one of the most unfortunate incidents in the history" of the state.

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