NEW DELHI: A major landslide along the Guwahati-Shillong Road in Meghalaya’s Ri Bhoi district, which occurred yesterday evening around 5.45, has again disrupted road communication between the capitals of the two states.

The occupant of one vehicle was killed and at least seven other vehicles were entirely buried under the debris due to the landslide. The landslide struck at Umling along the Guwahati-Shillong road.

Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on both sides of the road for several hours due to the incident and the traffic police had to divert vehicles coming from Guwahati to 20 Mile to pass through Umduh village road to come back to the national highway.

The vehicles going from Shillong have been diverted from Umling to Umduh and then to 20 Mile to take the national highway.

Later, the police said that an alternative route between Guwahati to Shillong via Naarang has been opened for light vehicles.

Rescue and restoration work are on since last night and efforts are being made to dig out vehicles from mud and rocks.

District Dy SP (traffic) Rymphang Pde who was at the spot said the road was finally cleared at around 11 AM today following non-stop clearing of the debris by at least eight earthmovers.

This incident comes at a time when both the north-east states- Assam and Meghalaya are struggling with the catastrophic floods that took the lives of at least 68 in Assam and 56 in the neighbouring Meghalaya.

These devastating floods, triggered by heavy rains, that ravaged several districts of both the north-east states have forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes, left numerous marooned and has affected lakhs of people.

Although the waters have receded in most areas from both the states, the number of people still affected is gigantic.

According to the daily flood report by Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), 3.7 lakh people across three districts are still affected due to the floods. Further, over 50,000 hectares of crop area are still under water across the state.

Earlier, the Revenue and Disaster Management Department of Assam, in a report stated "Over 42 lakh people of the state have been affected during the three waves of floods while 4,446 villages have been hit. A total of 54,088 houses have been fully damaged while 82,095 houses are partially damaged”.

On the other hand, in Meghalaya, the deluge has affected more than two lakh people submerging at least 1,172 villages under the flood waters.

Besides this, both the states have suffered gigantic losses in terms of property, infrastructure, cropped land and dwelling units as well.

Alongside, a large number of roads and bridges, government infrastructure like schools, health centres and offices in many districts have been severely damaged on account of the natural disaster.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited the flood-affected areas of Garo Hills and Assam on October 1 and assured the state authorities of all possible help to deal with the crisis.

Stating that the Centre has already released an amount of Rs.386 crore for Assam and Rs.123 crore for Meghalaya, the Union Home Minister further added that an additional amount of Rs.286 crore and Rs.8 crore has also been sanctioned for Assam and the worst-hit Garo Hills respectively, in order to deal with the situation and to ensure relief and rehabilitation.

“This is only initial sanction. The central government would give all the support to the state governments to deal with the disaster,” he said.

Singh also met the chief ministers of both the flood-affected states and assured them of all possible help and assistance from the government. In addition, he also asked them to submit a memorandum.

"I have asked the chief ministers to submit the memorandum to the Centre as early as possible so that we can soon send an inter-ministerial team to the affected states to maximize our assistance," he said.

While the Assam government has already submitted the memorandum to Singh, the Meghalaya Chief Minister said that the government was on the process of preparing the memorandum seeking which will highlight the damages and rebuilding exercise.

The Meghalaya government would be submitting the memo on Oct 10 when the state’s Chief Minister Mukul Sangma is expected to meet the Home Minister in New Delhi.

As per the Assam memorandum, the state is seeking Rs 2010 crore for damaged infrastructure, Rs 660 crore for rescue and relief operations and Rs 6,700 crore as special assistance that includes Rs 3,500 crore for raising and strengthening embankments and Rs 1,000 crore for mitigating floods in Guwahati.

Earlier, Tarun Gogoi had accused the Centre of discriminating against the State in terms of providing flood-assistance, adding that no package has been announced by the government yet despite the ‘unprecedented calamity.’

The Home Minister, during his visit also underscored the need to improve the telecommunication connectivity and raising a dedicated battalion of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) to tackle such natural calamities.

“I have seen the quantum of damages in Meghalaya and Assam. I assure that both the state will get full cooperation from the centre to undertake rebuilding exercise”, said Singh after undertaking the aerial surveys of the flood-ravaged areas.

Expressing concerns over the huge destruction that the floods have caused, he stated “We are very much saddened by the loss of lives and damage to property. The central government will help the state governments to tide over the crisis”.