Storm ravages Garo Hills; trees, power lines uprooted

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TURA, May 21 (Newmai): Bad weather over the past few weeks in Garo Hills has become the norm rather than an exception. The region has seen extremely strong winds, followed by lashing rains which has been leading to extensive damage to trees, electric lines and property, besides a few reported injuries. Another severe storm lashed the district of West Garo Hills on Tuesday morning and left another trail of destruction, mainly in the Rongram Block.

While the extent of damage caused by the storm Tuesday morning was still being gathered, locals stated that dozens of homes have been damaged in the block and more than a dozen villages were impacted. The storm flattened thatched and bamboo dwelling homes, blew away roof tops of schools and peoples’ houses and brought down trees and power lines.

The storm follows a weather warning circulated by the deputy commissioner with all branches of the administration asked to be vigilant over the coming four days May 21-24. The DC of WGH, Ram Singh, in a circular on May 20 has warned about the imminent dangers and asked everyone to be vigilant.

According to IMD forecasts, winds touching speeds between 40-60 km are expected to hit the region over the next few days. Block officials from Rongram informed that the villages of Rengsanggre, Asanang, Jendragre, Alagre, Aguragre, Tebronggre, Waram Asim, Digranggre, Rongpotgre and Matchurigre were hit.

Locals also claimed that the winds that blew prior to and during the storm were severe in intensity – something they had never been witness to. The storms that hit WGH also hit the districts of East and North Garo Hills, though by the time it got there, the intensity had lowered. Williamnagar, the district capital of EGH was the worst hit with a few trees and power lines being snapped. There were however no reports of any casualties.

Meanwhile residents of Garo Hills have braced themselves for the continued barrage from nature with many blaming the continued deforestation in the region for the cyclonic storms becoming more frequent.

“There may have been storms in the past, but the intensity of storms this year is an indicator that we have to stop messing with nature. The wanton destruction of forests will have a telling effect on not only the present but the coming future as well,” said activist AM Marak.

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