Disaster preparedness questioned after youth dies in well at Chumu
DIMAPUR, MAY 1
IN the hot afternoon on April 30, a young teenager Raj Limbu, a student of class VIII, tragically died after he fell into an uncapped unused well. The incident occurred at Chumukedima, Dimapur. It is believed the boy died of asphyxiation by poisonous gas present in the well, and not by drowning since the well was dry. A press release from Bohoto Achumi, Convenor, on behalf of public of Ward 9, Chumukedima said the rescue attempts following the boy’s fall into the well turned out to be a frustrating exercise without yielding any result to save the boy. The first attempt was by brave a class X student Lumpisa Sangtam, who was paasing by when the incident occurred. But he also became unconscious due to the gas and remained in the well. A third attempt by Basheer, a pharmacist, who tied a rope around his waist also failed after he fell unconscious but was fortuitously pulled up by the public.
Meanwhile, the father of Lumpisa Sangtam, who had alerted the Fire Brigade station in Chumukedima, had to wait for over half-an-hour for personnel from the Fire station to arrive. The station is barely 2 kms from the site where the incident occurred.
What further aggravated the public was that when the fire personnel arrived they did so without any aid to assist in the rescue, not even a rope, according to the public. The public alleged some of the personnel who turned up were in an inebriated state while on duty!
Two firemen made unsuccessful rescue attempts but soon gave up. With time running out it was left to the Khasita Sangtam, the father of Lumpisa Sangtam who had tried to rescue the victim Raj Limbu, to rescue his son.
Assisted by the public, Khasita Sangtam was lowered into the gaseous well and rescued his unconscious son.
Finally, it took Imnayapang two attempts to do into the well and retrieve the body of the young boy, Limbu, in the third attempt.
Ironically, police who were also informed turned up only after the rescue operation was carried out by the civilians. When public enquired why they were late, the police personnel replied that their vehicle broke down on the way.
The casual and indifferent attitude of Fire Brigade personnel and police has left a big question mark on whether these personnel are capable of handling emergency situations despite all their trainings on disaster management and others.
The public of Ward 9 Chumukedima have conveyed their deep condolences to the bereaved family of Raj Limbu and at the same time have placed on record the courageous and selfless acts of Khasita Sangtam and Imnayapang for rescuing Lumpisa and retrieving the body of Limbu.
They have also appealed to the State government to enquire into the incident and also to reward Khasita and Imnayapang for their exemplary and brave acts.