Twenty-two people, including eight members of a family, were killed and six feared dead in incidents of landslide and flash flood triggered by heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh since Friday, officials said.
Ten people were injured, state Disaster Management Department Director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta said on Saturday. The maximum damage has been reported from Mandi, Kangra and Chamba districts, he said, adding that so far 36 weather-related incidents have been reported from the state.
As many as 743 roads, including the Manali-Chandigarh national highway at Mandi and the Shimla-Chandigath highway at Shoghi have been blocked for traffic, news agency PTI quoted the official as saying.
In Mandi alone, 13 people died and six went missing in flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy rainfall, Deputy Commissioner Arindam Chaudhary said. Those missing are feared dead, he said.
Both SDRF and NDRF are carrying out operation to rescue people who went missing or are buried in debris, said a State Disaster Response Force official.
A railway bridge on Chakki river in Kangra was also damaged due to a flash flood and collapsed on Saturday. The water in the river is yet to recede.
#WATCH | Himachal Pradesh: The railway bridge on Chakki river in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district damaged due to flash flood, and collapsed today morning. The water in the river is yet to recede: Northern Railways pic.twitter.com/ApmVkwAkB8— ANI (@ANI) August 20, 2022
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed condolences over the deaths and said that administration is carrying out rescue operations on war-footing in the affected districts. He also reviewed disaster management preparedness with DCs and SPs, via video conference.
Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted yellow alert in the state till August 24. “Next 5 days to see moderate to heavy rain. Orange alert has been issued for the next 12 hours for whole state, yellow alert for the rest of the days till August 24," said Bui Lal, IMD Deputy Director of State, according to ANI.
According to officials, three people were killed after their house collapsed following a landslide triggered by rains in Chamba district. The Chamba district emergency operation centre (DEOC) said the landslide occurred at Banet village in Chowari tehsil around 4.30 am following which a house collapsed, killing three people. In Mandi, a girl was killed and 13 others were feared dead in a landslide and flash flood triggered by heavy rains, officials said.
The body of a girl was recovered about half-a-km away from her house in Baghi Nullah on Mandi-Katola-Prashar road on Friday night, while five members of her family were washed away, state disaster management department officials said.
Several families also left their houses located between Baghi to Old Katola areas after a cloud burst and took shelter at safe places, the department added. Besides, eight members of another family are also feared buried under the debris of their house following a landslide at Kashan village in Gohar development block, the department added.
However, the bodies have not been retrieved yet, it said. Several roads in Mandi district have also been blocked following flash flood and multiple landslides. Several vehicles were damaged and a number of villagers were stuck in their houses as water entered their houses and shops at Balh, Sadar, Thunag, Mandi and Lamathach, officials said. Schools in Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi district will remain closed on Saturday due to the incessant rains.
Several vehicles parked along the road were damaged and residents remained stuck inside their houses, they said. In Kangra, a ‘kacha’ house collapsed killing a nine-year-old child, officials said.
Kangra ADC Gandharva Rathore said that major losses included the collapse of Chakki railway bridge which was declared temporarily unsafe. Two deaths were reported in separate locations due to house collapse and rescue operations are underway.
Himachal Pradesh’s disaster management department has issued a warning for landslide due to heavy rains predicted in the state till August 25.
हिमाचल प्रदेश में कई जगहों पर आई प्राकृतिक आपदा से हुई जनहानि का समाचार अत्यंत पीड़ादायक है।मेरी संवेदनाए पीड़ित परिजनों के साथ है।
शासन प्रशासन युद्ध स्तर पर राहत एवं बचाव कार्य पर जुटे हुए हैं।
ईश्वर दिवंगत आत्माओं को अपने श्री चरणों में स्थान दे।
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) August 20, 2022
Precipitation is likely to increase during the next 24 hours for the subsequent three-four days with spells of heavy rainfall in parts of Kangra, Chamba, Mandi, Kullu, Shimla, Sirmaur, Solan, Hamirpur, Una and Bilaspur districts, state disaster management department director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta said.
Mokhta asked district emergency operations centres (DEOCs) to take adequate safety measures as landslides, flash floods, cloudbursts, rock-slides, sudden increase in water level in rivers, poor visibility and disruption of essential services may occur during the period.
Meanwhile, the Kangra district administration has issued an advisory, asking tourists and people to not go near rivers and streams after the India Meteorological Department predicted moderate to heavy rainfall till August 28. Deputy Commissioner, Kangra, Dr Nipun Jindal said, “Tourist and the general public are advised not to go near rivers, streams and other water bodies. Similarly areas vulnerable to the landslide should also be avoided".
He also asked authorities to remain alert and respond to any situation that may arise out of the situation. Jindal said the the deputy director of the education department has already been instructed to conduct online classes in schools.