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Massive earth crack forms in Manipur, destroying villages

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A massive earth crack that developed Sunday morning, June 4, 2017 in the Indian state of Manipur is widening with every passing hour, threatening several villages in the Kangpokpi district to be completely destroyed. More than 250 people have been evacuated to a temporary relief camp and are now facing water and power shortage.

By June 5, the fissure destroyed at least 11 houses, while 19 more were on the verge of falling apart. More than 20 paddy fields have been damaged, numerous huge trees have caved in and more land has slid down.

In addition, two huge water bodies have 'formed near Kalikhola village today while one electric post was also badly damaged,' The Sangai Express reported June 5. 

"The origin of the earth fissure is below J Songtun village and it slid down towards Kalikhola village developing larger fissure in the areas and has expanded to a radius of 5 km (3.1 km) approximately now. The PMGSY road connecting IT road and Kalapahar via Makuli has also slid down about 300 meters (980 feet) from the original site. All water pipelines have been badly damaged," the paper said. 

J Songtun village situated above Kalikhola village is in a more dangerous position in case a massive landslide occurs as it can be easily swept away, it added.

Kangpokpi Deputy Commissioner Kangpokpi T Ranjit appealed the public of Kangpokpi, more particularly the residents within the vicinity of Kakikhola, not to go in and around the areas as the situation has turned from bad to worse.

Earth crack in Manipur, India on June 5, 2017

Widening earth crack in Manipur, India on June 5, 2017. Credit: The Sangai Express

Dr. Th Ranjit, Associate Professor at DM Collee of Science said in a statement that the phenomenon was triggered by heavy rainfall in the deforested hill slopes which are laden with a thick soil cover.

Referring to local stories that nearby dormant volcano is waking up, thus causing the fissure, Ranjit said there is 'no iota of truth in the existence of a dormant volcano in the Koubru range.'

"Such false alarm was also raised in the State Assembly on August 9, 1989 during the Chief Ministership of Late RK Jaichandra Singh when a similar type of landslide took place in Longakoireng and Bungte Chiru," he recalled. "There can be no volcanic eruption in the State and the country except in the Andaman Islands," he concluded.

Featured image: Earth crack in Manipur, India on June 5, 2017. Credit: The Sangai Express

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