Cloudbursts kill four in Uttarakhand, swollen rivers wash away bridges

The cloudburst occurred around 2.15 a.m., with a bridge over the Song river washed away and Kempty Falls, a popular tourist spot near Mussoorie, flowing dangerously

August 20, 2022 12:22 pm | Updated 05:55 pm IST - Dehradun/New Tehri

A woman sits on the banks of swollen Song river, after a series of cloudbursts hit different parts of Uttarakhand during the monsoon season, at Raipur area in Dehradun district on August 20, 2022. At least 4 people have been killed so far.

A woman sits on the banks of swollen Song river, after a series of cloudbursts hit different parts of Uttarakhand during the monsoon season, at Raipur area in Dehradun district on August 20, 2022. At least 4 people have been killed so far. | Photo Credit: PTI

A series of cloudbursts hit different parts of Uttarakhand early on Saturday killing four people while 10 went missing as rivers breached their banks and washed away bridges, officials said.

Torrential rains damaged two houses in Gwad village in Tehri district trapping seven people under the debris. Two bodies have been recovered from under the rubble, Tehri District Magistrate Saurabh Gaharwar said.

In Kothar village, an elderly woman suffocated to death after getting trapped underneath rubble brought in by the rains, he said.

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In Binak village of Pauri district, a house collapsed burying 70-year-old Darshani Devi alive. Her body was recovered by villagers, the disaster control room said.

Excessive rains have affected around 13 villages in the Pauri district prompting the administration to close all Anganwadi centres and schools.

People walk on debris over a road, after a series of cloudbursts hit different parts of Uttarakhand during the monsoon season, at Raipur area in Dehradun district on August 20, 2022.

People walk on debris over a road, after a series of cloudbursts hit different parts of Uttarakhand during the monsoon season, at Raipur area in Dehradun district on August 20, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

A house and a shop were damaged by heavy rains in Bhainswad village of Dehradun district injuring three people while five were missing, the state emergency operation centre here said.

Water also entered the caves of Tapkeshwar, a famous Shiva temple on the banks of the Tons river, which was in spate, officials said.

A cloudburst occurred around 2.15 am in Sarkhet village in the Raipur area, they said, adding a bridge over the Song river near Thano got washed away while the Kempty Falls, a popular tourist spot near Mussoorie, was also flowing dangerously.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited the affected areas near Thano and instructed officials to make arrangements for restoring vehicular movement.

"The administration is fully alert. Disaster relief teams are already at work in the affected areas. The Army's help may also be taken if needed," he said. Dhami was accompanied by Raipur MLA Umesh Sharma Kau and Garhwal commissioner Sushil Kumar.

Mussoorie MLA Ganesh Joshi and Dehradun District Magistrate Sonika also visited the affected areas to assess the damage.

Mud entered homes in over a dozen villages following the cloudburst, prompting the State Disaster Response Force to shift the affected people to safe locations.

The affected villages include Maldevta, Bhutsi, Tauliyakatal, Thatyud, Lavarkha, Ringalgadh, Dhuttu, Ragad Gaon and Sarkhet, according to the officials.

A man salvages his utensils on the banks of swollen Song river, after a series of cloudbursts hit different parts of Uttarakhand during the monsoon season, at Raipur area in Dehradun district on August 20, 2022.

A man salvages his utensils on the banks of swollen Song river, after a series of cloudbursts hit different parts of Uttarakhand during the monsoon season, at Raipur area in Dehradun district on August 20, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

The affected people have been shifted to schools and panchayat buildings, said Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Dhanolti, Lakshmi Raj Chauhan, adding the Raipur-Kumalda road has been blocked by debris at many places.

The Rishikesh-Badrinath highway is blocked at Totaghati, the Rishikesh-Gangotri highway is blocked at Nagni and the Narendranagar-Ranipokhri road is blocked at several points, Chauhan said.

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