Rain fury claims more lives in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand

Tuesday morning landslide kills at least two people in Himachal, adding to the death toll; rising rivers add to dangers in Uttarakhand; government suspends Char Dham Yatra

Updated - August 16, 2023 01:57 pm IST

Published - August 15, 2023 10:35 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Ambulances to shift the survivors to the nearby hospitals at the site of landslides during a rescue and search operation following torrential rains, in Shimla, on August 15, 2023.

Ambulances to shift the survivors to the nearby hospitals at the site of landslides during a rescue and search operation following torrential rains, in Shimla, on August 15, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

At least eight houses, including six makeshift ones, were razed to the ground by a massive landslide in the Krishnanagar locality of Himachal Pradesh on August 15 morning, leaving two dead and several missing. A slaughterhouse was also buried under the debris. Videos of the incident, in which big trees could be seen falling on homes with deafening noise and calls for help, went viral on social media. Government sources say that the possibility of more people dead or trapped under the debris cannot be ruled out.

State emergency services also recovered four more bodies out of the rubble of a collapsed Shiv temple in Shimla on Tuesday, apart from the eight bodies already recovered. Rescuers feared that 10 more were still trapped in the rubble of the temple, which was hit by an earlier landslide. The death toll from the heavy rains that have battered Himachal Pradesh since Sunday night has crossed 53.

In Uttarakhand, five people died in rain-related incidents as rivers continued to flow near the danger mark in the hills. As landslides continue to block roads and the weather forecast warned of more rains in the next few days, the State government has suspended the Char Dham Yatra.

State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams used temporary zip-lines to rescue people who were trapped on the Madmaheshwar walking route, as the bridge connecting the temple highway was washed away, leaving 150 stranded. The SDRF managed to rescue 45 people till Tuesday evening.

The Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers, which have created havoc in the worst-affected Rudraprayag district, were flowing at 626 metres and 624.68 metres on Tuesday, almost at their respective danger marks of 627 metres and 626 metres. The Ganga in Haridwar was flowing at 293.40 metres, just 0.60 metres below the danger mark at the time of filing this report.

HP has witnessed 316 deaths due to rain-related incidents in the ongoing monsoon season. In Uttarakhand, at least 65 people have lost their lives over the last two months, and 24 are missing after being washed away in different rain-related incidents.

Due to incessant rains, houses in both hills and cities in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have developed cracks. The respective governments have asked the residents to vacate the dilapidated homes and arrangements for their rehabilitation has been done.

(with inputs from PTI)

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