“All three of my shops completely burnt down. I don’t know where to seek help”
A total of 135 shops were affected by the devastating fire that broke out in the MMC Shopping Complex on 3 February 2024, with 62 shops completely razed and 73 shops severely damaged, Deputy Commissioner Mokokchung Thsuvisie Phoji said today.
In the aftermath of the devastating fire that engulfed the MMC Shopping Complex, victims have emerged with stories of desperation and helplessness. Yashitola, a 49-year-old who had been running a shop in the complex for 10 years, owned three clothing stores, one of which belonged to her daughter.
“All three of my shops completely burned down. That was the only source of income for my family,” said a heartbroken Yashitola, hailing from Salulamang village. “I don’t even know where to seek help. All the clothes and all of my other belongings, including everything, must be worth about Rs 17-18 lakhs,” she said in despair, adding that she had owned all of those on loan. “It is not just me, but all of my friends are going through the same fate as I,” she added.
Regarding aid, she said that any help would be welcomed, adding, “Be it from the government or any other organization, we would definitely welcome any help at the earliest. It is our only means of income,” she added, mentioning that she had not slept since the fire broke out on the night of 3rd February.
Highlighting the predominantly female demographic among the shop owners, Yashitola noted that many were widows or single mothers. Standing beside her, a 48-year-old woman echoed the devastation. “The season for new clothing had just begun, and our business was already struggling due to online shopping. Now this has happened. I am truly heartbroken,” she shared.
Like many of her friends, she also started the business on loan, and the shop had been her only source of income. Stating that the MMC Complex is a government property, she expressed hope that the state government, as well as the district administration, will provide them the aid they need.
“Shops were our second home, so not only did we lose our goods and cash, but also our documents,” she lamented. According to her, she must have lost goods worth Rs 8 lakh in the fire.