Thoubal and Chandel Districts Submerged
Kakching, Manipur – Mahdu Chandra reports the worst flooding for 200 years in India’s most troubled state, Manipur. The whole of Thoubal district and part of Chandel district have been completely submerged.
Chandra says media has completely ignored this flooding, including the state’s print media and television news channels. The media are mainly based in the state capital, Imphal.
The state government is in total chaos and is completely unprepared to tackle the situation. No higher zone is left within the districts, and people are taking shelter in nearby hill stations.
Roads and Bridges Lost In Manipur Flood
The Asian Highway No 1, that connects Imphal and Moreh, has been cut off. Asian Highway No 1 starting from Wangjing, 26 km from Imphal toward the Indo-Myanmar border up to Pallel, has been affected. The old bridge at Pallel has been damaged and the lone and newly constructed Pallel Bridge, yet to open has been affected.
The newly constructed Heirok bridge on the newly proposed highway to the Indo-Myanmar border has been destroyed. Chakpi River in southern Chandel district, known for the uncertainty of its flow, is raging furiously. It is reported that the lone Chapikarong bridge may be washed away.
The Chakpi River has flooded the entire Serou region in the southern part of Thoubal district. The longest and newly constructed Serou Bridge has water up to the danger mark.
The lone bridge that crosses the Kakching Sekmai River is cracked, and the public are warned to avoid using the bridge. A newly constructed bridge leading to the tourist area, the Kakching Garden, is blocked as the water has submerged it.
The worst affected areas in Thoubal district, according to local sources, are Wangjing-Tentha constituency, Kakching Sub-Divisional areas, Wabagai-Hiyangalam and Sugnu and Serou area in Thoubal district.
It is the season for agricultural plantation, and the worst affected area is known as the rice bowl of Manipur. This area produces large quantities of agricultural products, not only for the region but for the entire state. More than 600 sq km is affected by the flooding, and there are more than 500,000 people in the two districts. Most of the people in the flood-affected area are cultivators, and their paddy crop cultivation has been destroyed. This will affect the following year. Fishery farms are submerged and lost. Poultry and piggeries in domestic homes are the sole source of livelihood for most of the villagers, which are now destroyed.
The markets and shops are closed and many have been submerged for the past three days. They were badly hit by the public protect demanding Inner Land Permit system in the state before the flood.
Last night, the water level was still rising and people were forced to move to safer places to survive, leaving their homes and their livelihoods unattended. The rain continues to pour, as it has done for the past two weeks. The forecast is for more rain in the next four days as well.
Government Vacuum Filled By Civil Society, Clubs
As already noted, the government is totally unprepared to respond to the situation. Civil society bodies and clubs came forward to set up limited relief camps for women and children and affected families for survival. Military forces have extended whatever help they could provide.
Thoubal district and indeed the entire valley of Manipur, which is 8% of Manipur’s total geographical area, is surrounded by hills. This season with so much rain in the hill areas will lead to more flood situations in the valley, where flooding has not been seen over the past ten years. This time, rain continues to pour throughout the state and more in the hill stations of Chandel district.
Several rivers flow through the three hill areas. One is the Heirok-Wangjing River that flows from the hill areas of the Indo-Myanmar board toward the valley. The second is the Ithei Maru River of Pallel from the hill area of Chandel in the Indo-Myanmar boarder region. The third is the Chakpi River, which flows from the southern Chandel district hill areas. All these flow through the Thoubal district and then to the Imphal River at Sekmaijin and all the way to Myanmar.
Dam Project Submerges Ukhrul District
There are villages in Manipur’s southern part of Ukhrul district that have been submerged by the Mapithel Thoubal Dam multipurpose project. The schools and church buildings in those affected villages have been submerged. The people in those villages have been demanding the state government take action for rehabilitation. Their complaint is that the state government has not helped the affected villages.