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Rediff.com  » News » Himachal cloudburst, landslide toll rises to 51; heavy rains hamper rescue op

Himachal cloudburst, landslide toll rises to 51; heavy rains hamper rescue op

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: August 14, 2023 21:49 IST
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At least 51 people were killed as rains wreaked havoc in Himachal Pradesh, triggering landslides that blocked key roads, damaged homes and buried devotees in the rubble of a temple in Shimla.

IMAGE: A tree uprooted due to landslide, in Shimla, August 14, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

Fourteen bodies were recovered from the sites of two landslides in the state capital, and officials feared there could be more people trapped under the debris of the Shiva temple in Summer Hill area.

The shrine was crowded with devotees, offering prayers on an important day of the holy month of Sawan.

Nineteen people died in rain-related incidents in Mandi district, Deputy Commissioner Arindam Chaudhary told PTI.

In Solan, another badly affected district, 11 people including seven members of a family have been killed.

The weather office predicted extremely heavy rains in nine out of 12 districts of the state, barring Kullu, Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti, on Monday and issued a yellow warning for Tuesday.

Shimla SP Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi told PTI that 14 bodies have been pulled out of the rubble at the two landslide sites of Summer Hill and Fagli, while 17 persons rescued.

 

The officials said heavy rains are hampering rescue operations in Shimla several parts of which were without electricity since Sunday night as landslides and uprooted trees damaged power lines.

Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu earlier said nine bodies have been pulled out of the debris from a Shiva temple in the Summer Hill area and the other site in the Fagli area where several houses were buried under mud and slush.

All schools and colleges in the state were closed on Monday. According to the state emergency operation centre, 621 roads were closed in the state because of the calamity.

In Hamirpur district, four people have died due to incessant rains. Hamirpur deputy commissioner Hemraj Bairwa said that two persons are missing.

IMAGE: A car got buried under the debris after a landslide, in Shimla. Photograph: ANI Photo

One person was swept away by the flood waters while two others were rescued on Sunday night.

In another incident, an elderly woman was buried alive while her son was rescued after their house collapsed due to rains, the officials said.

In Rangas area of Hamirpur, a woman was killed in a landslide, while an 80-year-old man died in a house collapse incident in Bhagatu panchayat.

In Solan district's Jadon village, seven members of a family were killed in a cloudburst on Sunday night.

Two houses in the district were washed away following the cloudburst. While six people were rescued, seven others were killed, a police official said.

The dead have been identified as Harnam (38), Kamal Kishore (35), Hemlata (34), Rahul (14), Neha (12), Golu (8) and Raksha (12), Superintendent of Police, Solan, Gaurav Singh said.

IMAGE: Rescue operations underway at the spot of landslide in Summer Hill area of rain-hit Shimla. Photograph: ANI Photo

Six bodies have been recovered at Sambhal near Pandoh.

The bodies are yet to be identified, the deputy commissioner said, adding two deaths have been reported from Dharampur area.

Some parts of Balh area and Nerchowk in Mandi were inaundated.

One boy died in Sirmaur district, according to reports.

The chief minister visited the site of the temple collapse in Shimla city's Summer Hill area and said all efforts are being made to rescue people buried underneath the debris.

"Distressing news has emerged from Shimla, where the Shiv Mandir at Summer Hill collapsed as a result of the heavy rainfall. As of now, nine bodies have been retrieved. The local administration is diligently working to clear the debris in order to rescue individuals who may still be trapped. Om Shanti," he posted on X (formerly Twitter).

In another post on the microblogging site, he said, "Devastating rains led to a landslide near the Shiv Temple in Shimla's Summerhill area, burying many people. Some people have died. I am present at the spot and rescue work is underway on a war footing. All possible efforts are being made to rescue the people buried under the debris."

Later, talking to reporters at the site, he said, "There was a gathering in the Lord Shiva temple at the time of the incident as it was Monday of the holy month of Sawan. Rescue work is underway on a war footing. All possible efforts are being made to rescue the people buried under the debris."

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said teams of the National Disaster Response Force are engaged in relief and rescue operations in the hill state and termed the loss of lives due to the deluge as "extremely distressing".

The UNESCO world heritage Shimla-Kalka railway bridge was badly damaged near Summer Hill in Shimla. The 50-metre bridge was swayed away and the tracks are hanging in air, the officials said.

Along with the Army, personnel from the SDRF, NDRF, ITBP, and state police, among others, were involved in relief and rescue works, an official statement said.

Deputy commissioner of Shimla Aditya Negi told PTI that many people were feared buried in the two landslides in Summer Hill and Fagli areas. Rescue operations are going on in full swing, the official said.

Several parts of the state capital was without electricity since Sunday night as landslides and uprooted trees damaged power lines.

Himachal Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla also visited the landslide- and cloudburst-hit sites, the officials said

In Hamirpur district, four persons have died due to incessant rains in the district, officials said.

Hamirpur deputy commissioner Hemraj Bairwa said that two persons are missing. He appealed to all the residents of the district to take special precautions in view of the calamity.

One person was swept away by the flood waters while two others were rescued on Sunday night.

In another incident, an elderly woman was buried alive while her son was rescued after their house collapsed due to rains, the officials said.

In Rangas area of Hamirpur, a woman was killed in a landslide, while an 80-year-old man died in a house collapse incident in Bhagatu panchayat in the district. The elderly person's body has been recovered, the officials said.

Heavy rains battered Himachal Pradesh since Sunday, triggering landslides that blocked several roads, including the key Shimla-Chandigarh road. In total, 752 roads are blocked in the state as per the state emergency operation centre.

Kangra received 273 mm of rain since Sunday evening followed by Dharamshala 250 mm, Sundernagar 168 mm, Mandi 140 mm, Jubbarhatti 132 mm, Shimla 126 mm, Berthin 120 mm, Dhaulakaun 111 mm and Nahan 107 mm.

The weather department has issued a yellow warning for heavy rains on Tuesday and predicted a wet spell in the state till August 18.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
 
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