At least 23 people were killed and 20 went missing in landslide in the Darjeeling district of the state of West Bengal in northeastern India early Wednesday, according to local reports. The landslide was caused by incessant rainfall that hit the region Tuesday night.
About 25 landslides were reported in three sub-divisions of Darjeeling, All India Radio reported. They triggered major damage to National Highways and blocked the telecommunication and road connection to Darjeeling and the neighboring state of Sikkim, a Sashastra Seema Bal (Armed Border Force or SSB) officer reportedly said Wednesday. Red alert was also issued for the neighboring district of Jalpaiguri due to a flood-like situation.
"Roads have been damaged at several places and we are moving earth removing equipment to the affected areas. We are also seeking the army's help to restore road connectivity that has been severed at many places in the district," Anurag Srivastava, Darjeeling district magistrate, said, according to Hindustan Times, a local newspaper.
The rescue operations by SSB and state police at Mirik, Kalimpong and Sukhiapokhari areas of Darjeeling have been disrupted by the torrential rainfall, DNA reported. "Seven, five and one bodies have been recovered from Mirik, Kalimpong and Sukhiapokhari respectively and 10 people are still missing in Mirik," Srivastava reportedly said. The district police said that the death toll is likely to increase.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote on her Twitter account Wednesday that she would reach the affected areas soon.
Anguished about loss of lives in Mirik/Kalimpong landslides. Home Secretary already in N Bengal 1/2
â€” Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) July 1, 2015
I am monitoring situation closely and will rush there after meet in Murshidabad 2/2
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) July 1, 2015