One killed, 25 injured in Meghalaya cyclonic storm

Shillong, May 2 (IANS) One person was killed and at least 25 others were injured in a cyclonic storm in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district Thursday, officials said.

This is the second such incident within a span of three weeks in the remote West Khasi Hills district. On April 10, three people were killed and over 50 others injured in a storm in the district.

High velocity winds, accompanied by rain and lightning in the wee hours of Thursday rendered hundreds of families homeless and uprooted hundreds of trees, telephone and electric poles, and snapped lines, officials said.

“Nanly Khardewsaw, a farmer from Mawsiej village, died on the spot when he was crushed in the rubble of his cyclone-ravaged house,” Additional District Magistrate of West Khasi Hills J.P. Lakiang told IANS.

Over 20 people have been admitted in the government-run hospital at Nongstoin — four of them are in a critical condition, the official said.

“Magistrates and police officials have rushed to the six affected villages — Umjaru, Mawsiangbah, Nongkniang, Mawsiej, Mawrok-Mawlangiang and Nongkdait — to take stock of the situation,” Lakiang said.

He said the government would set up relief camps at Mawsiangbah and Nongkhniang villages to accommodate displaced villagers.

“We were planning to set up another relief camp at Mawsiej village, but the villagers have opposed it,” the additional district magistrate said.

Meanwhile, the deputy chief minister in-charge of revenue and disaster management R.C. Laloo Thursday held a review meeting to assess the damage caused by the cyclonic storm in West Khasi Hills.

“The government had released immediate funds to the district administration for distribution of essential items among the affected families and the government will extend all necessary help to the affected villagers,” Laloo told IANS.

He said an ex-gratia payment of Rs.1.5 lakh to the next of kin of the farmer killed in a cyclonic storm would be made at the earliest.

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