Gangtok, September 3, 2013
Four members of a family, including a two-month-old baby, and a visitor died when a landslide triggered by nonstop rains struck their house in Tamabung village in West Sikkim.
The victims were sleeping when the landslide struck around 11 p.m. on Sunday, 1st September 2013. A search team dug out their bodies after several hours of search.
Among the victims were Maya Rai, 57, Sajan Rai, 18, Tej Maya Rai, 18, and three-month-old Paro Hang Rai, all belonging to the same family, and their guest Bir Bdr. Subba, 64, who had stayed overnight at their house as he could not go home due to heavy rain. Subba, a faith healer, was called for treatment of the kid that night.
Head of the family, Mangal Rai was in Gangtok for treatment. The landslide created panic among other residents of the village. The Rai family, who originally hails from Topong village, has been staying in Tamabung for maize harvest. The landslide destroyed their entire maize crop.
On Monday morning, District Collector L.P. Chettri told a group of waiting reporters that the family was sleeping when the landslide occurred in Tamabung, some 150 km from Gangtok.
A search team comprising officials from disaster management department, SSB, IRB and the police was deployed. Unfortunately all of the victims were found dead, he said. Besides livestock, a wild black bear was also found dead near the spot.
The dead animal was later handed over to the forest department. MLA Dawcho Lepcha and other senior officials also rushed to the spot to lend support to the distressed relatives of the victims. Meanwhile, the district administration has announced compensation to the relatives of the victims.
According to local residents, the search operation continued till dawn. The body of Indra Maya Rai was first to be recovered around 3 a.m. Surprisingly all other houses in the village remained intact.
A flashflood had occurred recently in Upper Rimbi which is close to Tamabung village. Many people had lost their properties in the flood. The bodies of the victims were cremated after postmortem.
(Courtesy: Sikkim First)
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