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Helicopter operation to Siju-Maheskola for airdrop of relief halted

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Baghmara, June 21: A planned operation by the Indian Air Force to airdrop food and other relief materials to hundreds of stranded families in the badly damaged Sihu-Maheskola region of South Garo Hills has been halted on Tuesday due to bad weather.

Damaged portion of road in Siju in South Garo Hills

Damaged portion along NH -62 in South Garo Hills

The Indian air force helicopters from Guwahati air station which took off with relief materials from Shillong air force station could not airdrop the materials in the destined locations of south Garo Hills after facing bad weather conditions.

“The helicopter did manage to cross into Maheskola areas but there was thick cloud cover and heavy rains in the morning which compelled them to turn back for safety reasons,” informed authorities from district headquarters baghmara.

A fresh attempt is to be made on Wednesday morning if the weather condition improves.

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma who had planned to lift off from Shillong air force station to South Garo Hills to meet the affected people and review the relief operations was also left stranded by inclement weather in the state capital on Tuesday morning. He has since dashed off by road to Guwahati and headed to the Garo Hills region.

The helicopter with food materials had planned to airdrop the relief consignments over Mahadeo, Kanai, Bonbera, Rongsu Agal and Kalu Songmong. The Chopper was also due to land at open fields in Siju and Maheskola villages to handover the food and relief consignment to village authorities for distribution.

The food items to be airdropped consisted of rice, dal, salt, sugar, cooking oil, drinking water, tarpaulin and blankets. Over 300 stranded families in Siju-Maheskola- Mahadeo region have been cut off from the state by landslides since June 17th. The roads connecting the region via Rongara and Ranikor in south West Khasi Hills have been completely blocked by landslides.

The bodies of six people who perished in landslides have so far been retrieved while search for another two missing labourers continue in the Nangalbibra region.

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