In part one, we locate the origins of the sinking issue in Noklak, the insurmountable challenges its inhabitants face, and what the experts have to say.

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Thoho Shiu (49), a farmer in Noklak, a district headquarter in Eastern Nagaland, recently ‘lifted’ his house by a couple of feet. Made from locally-sourced oak and bamboo, Shiu said the process of ‘lifting’ and installing a longer stilt to prevent his house from sinking further has become a ritual: not just for him but for people living in 400-odd homes in Noklak.

One of the damaged houses in the southern part of Noklak which was abandoned after the terrace on which the house stands started to destabilise. Photo by Anupam Chakravartty

Every year, during the monsoon season, a portion of Noklak subsides to the force of the gushing waters of Kiam, a stream that flows through the town. Over two decades, a landslide around the stream has slowly subsumed one-fourth of the town and continues to sink the land in and around churches, schools, and even the new Deputy Commissioner’s office. 

In places, according to the geologists as well as the district administration, parts of the town have sunk at least by a metre. In 2014, the residents formed Kiam Landslide Committee to cope with the huge land subsidence in the town......

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