At least 14 people have been killed and dozens are feared dead after a massive landslide in a remote area of the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, officials said.
Rescue workers battled heavy rains to pull 19 survivors from the rubble on Thursday morning after the landslide at a railway construction site, where workers were sleeping in a makeshift camp overnight.
The army has been drafted in to join the search, but officials were not optimistic.
The chances of the remaining people surviving are very thin considering the fact that the landslide occurred at around 2 a.m. local time, Haulianlal Guite, district magistrate of Noney district in Manipur, told Reuters news agency by telephone.
This month, unprecedented rains have lashed India’s northeastern states and neighbouring Bangladesh, killing more than 150 people.
Millions have been displaced by the catastrophic floods in recent weeks, and in some low-lying areas, houses have been submerged.
Army helicopters were on standby and assisting in rescue operations at the site of the landslide, a statement from the Indian army said.
“The weather is very hostile and more landslides are hampering our rescue operations,” the statement said.
Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh said he had called an emergency meeting to assess the situation.
“A search and rescue operation is already under way. Ambulances along with doctors have also been dispatched to assist in the operation,” he said in a statement.
An advisory issued by the local administration said the landslide blocked the flow of the Ijei River, creating dam-like storage.
“The general public is hereby advised to take precautions,” it said.