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Air Force airlifts equipment, NDRF personnel to Dzukou Valley

Nongthombam Binoy Meetei, who was serving as an assistant sub Inspector with the NDRF and was engaged in the operations, found dead at the base camp.

Kohima/Imphal, Jan. 6 :
Over 3.3 tonnes of fire fighting equipment and NDRF personnel were airlifted to Dzukou Valley by Air Force helicopters today.

Multiple missions were carried out by the IAF to assist fire fighting operations, which will continue tomorrow.

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio yesterday made an aerial survey to assess the damage caused by the fire raging in the state’s scenic Dzukou range even as efforts to douse the blaze completely continued for the eighth day, officials said.

The forest fire in Dzukou valley is “continuously increasing its magnitude” and spreading towards the hills of neighbouring Manipur, the NDRF said yesterday.

The federal contingency force said it has deployed seven teams in the affected areas of Kohima district in Nagaland and Senapati district of Manipur to assist firefighters in extinguishing the forest fire.

Joint efforts on to contain Dzukou Valley fire

National and state disaster rescue personnel, fire services and forest department officers, local police, paramilitary staff and volunteers have joined the operation to douse the blaze, which broke out on the Nagaland side on 29 December and soon spread to the Manipur side of the valley. 

The valley is about 25km from Kohima, Nagaland’s state capital.

Rio accompanied by advisors Mhonlumo Kikon and Medo Yhokha, Principal Secretary (Home) and Divisional Forest Officer Kohima made an aerial survey of the Dzukou valley.

“Made an aerial survey of the latest forest fire situation at Dzukou valley today. Seeing the tremendous joint efforts by all concerned to tackle the situation, I am hopeful that the fire will soon be doused,” Rio tweeted.

“The destruction of God-given beauty and resources of the Dzukou valley is sad. I hope we will all strive to support the efforts of preserving and promoting the rich biodiversity of the valley and learn to live in harmony with nature,” he said in another tweet.

Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority

Meanwhile, efforts to douse the blaze continued as the fire was burning at multiple locations, said OSD of Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority, Johnny Ruangmei.

‘The main problem in controlling the fire is that the gusty wind which carries the fire sparks during the night hours, when operation is not carried both by air and land, starting fresh fire in multiple spots,’ he said.

This has resulted in fire erupting in some spots of the magnificent Dzukou valley, he said.

More NRDF teams sought

‘We have decided to reinforce three more units of NDRF and requested the Ministry of Home Affairs. We will also reinforce personnel from the state including Home Guards and Civil Defence, Police and local volunteers,’ he said.

The service of four IAF choppers will also continue to spray water from air while manual efforts would be made to fight the valley fire on Wednesday, he said. 

NDRF personnel found dead

One National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel engaged in firefighting operation in the Dzukou Valley has been found dead.

Nongthombam Binoy Meetei, who was serving as an Assistant Sub Inspector with the NDRF, was found dead at the base camp.

Meetei hailed from Luwangshangbam Maning Leikai in Manipur’s Imphal East District.

“Deeply saddened on hearing the news of the demise of Assistant Sub-Inspector Nongthombam Binoy Meetei of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), currently deployed at Dzuko for the ongoing firefighting operation,” said Manipur chief minister N. Singh.

“My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the deceased and pray for peace of the departed soul, ” he added. 

Team NewsFile