Meghalaya thunderstorm leaves a trail of destruction

Shillong: Massive thunderstorm, hailstorm and heave rains late on Friday and early Saturday morning left a trail of destruction in Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills district, leaving at least one person with serious injuries. The injured has been admitted in the ICU of Tura Civil Hospital.

The hailstorm left a trail of destruction in its wake as it damaged at least 140 houses, affecting over 500 people with the devastation caused, West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner (DC) Ram Singh said.

The DC said most houses were destroyed by the winds and hailstorm, while others were damaged by falling trees.

On shifting people to relief camps, Singh said that only a few would opt to move to camps. “Most people prefer to repair a portion of their own damaged house and live there or with their neighbours. They don’t move out fearing theft and protection of livestock.”

He said authorities were providing general relief and other assistance to the families and house damage will be compensated as per the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) norms. 

The DC said more extreme weather and thunderstorms were forecast for Meghalaya on Sunday as well.

“Thunderstorms and heavy rainfall have damaged many houses, powerlines and other utilities and buildings in various localities,” said Singh.

East Garo Hills DC Swapnil Tembe said the district witnessed a stormy night. He informed that MeECL, PWD, Forest department etc were all engaged in clearing the roads. 

Meanwhile, the authorities have urged the public to follow safety measures during thunderstorm: 

  • Stay indoors, close windows, doors and avoid travel if possible. 
  • Take safe shelters, do not take shelter under trees. 
  • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls. 
  • Unplug electrical/ electronic appliances. 
  • Immediately get out of water bodies. 
  • Keep away from all the objects that conduct electricity

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