Lunglei, the capital town of Lunglei District in southern Mizoram is currently in the grip of an unprecedented forest fire that is reported to have started at around 7 am yesterday on the outskirts of the town. The fire is mainly concentrated in uninhabited forest areas surrounding the town, and has spread to more than 10 village council areas within the town. In some localities such as Zotlang, Serkawn, Chanmari, the fire reached some buildings, but could be contained and doused before it caused any major loss to property. No loss of human life has yet been reported due to the wildfire.
Though hundreds of volunteers have stepped up in different locations across Lunglei town, the raging fire has not been contained even after a non-stop effort of more than 32 hours. Dry vegetation due to drought conditions, coupled with strong winds, has made the mission extremely challenging, and the unfriendly terrain of the area also poses a very serious risk and hindrance for the firefighters. Apart from local volunteers, the Assam Rifles and Border Security Force (BSF) have also stepped out with their men and equipments, and are actively participating in the firefighting efforts. Private water tankers have also voluntarily deployed their vehicles for firefighting.
The Fire & Emergency Services Department in Lunglei District has only 13 staff and 2 fire tender vehicles at their disposal. The State Government has detailed 2 more fire tender vehicles and 7 additional men to assist the team at Lunglei. The additional team is presently en route to Lunglei.
In the wake of the present crisis in Lunglei, the Deputy Commissioner & Chairman, District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) Shri Kulothungan A convened an emergency meeting with key stakeholders at his office chamber this afternoon. Detailed plan of action was charted out, with the Committee deciding on seeking the help of the Indian Air Force in containing the fire. State Government authorities have been contacted in this regard. Several Ministers from Aizawl are expected to visit Lunglei to take stock of the crisis.
According to Lunglei Additional DC Pu M Misael, the concerned authorities are presently investigating who or what caused the fire. There are certain reasons to believe that the fire is manmade, and a meeting will be convened with affected Village Councils and Young Mizo Association (YMA) leaders of the areas to ascertain the exact cause, he added.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Mizoram Pu Zoramthanga has spoken to the Indian Air Force authorities, and has explained the extreme urgency of the situation to them. At the CM’s instructions, Chief Secretary of Mizoram Pu Lalnunmawia Chuaungo and other concerned officials have further taken up the matter with the IAF authorities. Environment, Forest & Climate Change Minister Pu TJ Lalnuntluanga and Serlui MLA Pu Lalrinsanga Ralte are presently on their way to Lunglei to take stock of the crisis, and make necessary on ground arrangements.
The District Disaster Management machinery of the Lunglei has been activated and on full alert since the start of the fire yesterday. The following Incident Commanders are on duty in their respective areas:
|S No||Name of Magistrate||Area to be Covered||Phone Number|
|1||James Miahlung||Bazar Veng, Electric Veng, Chanmari, Salem, College Veng,||9856294258|
|2||Carolyn LB Khiangte||Pukpui, Serkawn, Zotlang, Zohnuai||8414917324|
|3||C. Lalduhzuali||Farm Veng, Ramthar, Lunglawn, Luangmual, Sethlun||8413058436|
|4||Lalsanglura||Lungsen RD Block||7085979191|
|5||Margaret J Vanlalremmmawii||Theiriat, Hrangchalkawn, Lungpuizawl, Zobawk N&S||8131932592|
|6||Denny Lalchhuanawma||Bunghmun RD Block||6009534850|
|7||Collin Hlychho||Venglai, Rahsiveng, Venghlun, Sazaikawn, Hauruang||7005751607|