In devastation unheard of in the state, the death toll in rain-related incidents has crossed 50 in Himachal Pradesh in the past 24 hours, said Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Monday.
Sukhu said the death and destruction caused by incessant rainfall in Himachal is unprecedented. He said it has never happened that over 50 people have died in just 24 hours. He said the numbers could rise as many people are still trapped.
Heavy rainfall has been lashing Himachal that has triggered rain-related incidents such as landslides, mudslides, flash-floods, and cloudbursts. The state capital Shimla and Mandi have emerged as the worst-hit districts. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had issued a red alert for the state for Monday and had predicted rainfall above 204.4 mm.
The incessant rains and resultant deaths and destruction have dampened the Independence Day celebrations in Himachal and CM Sukhu has cancelled all cultural events. He said only ceremonial flag-hoisting will take place and all police and disaster response personnel engaged in Independence Day duties have been pressed into relief and rescue work.
Out of over 50 deaths, 12 have been reported in two incidents in Shimla and 19 people died in Mandi, which has emerged as the worst-hit district.
FLOODS IN THE ABODE OF SNOW: #Himachal drowns as several parts of the state receive huge downpours. These photos are by @down2earthindia contributor, @rohitprashar007. They are from (clockwise): Dharmpur, Mandi, Solan and Shimla. Detailed story to follow#HimachalFloodspic.twitter.com/z2tf2CDXxl— Down To Earth (@down2earthindia) August 14, 2023
Over 50 dead in 24 hours in unprecedented rains: CM Sukhu
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said the state has never seen such death and destruction.
It has never happened that over 50 people have died in 24 hours, said Sukhu after holding a high-powered meeting.
"Never in our history, we have had such rains that more than people died. In 24 hours, 50 deaths have happened and the number could rise as 20 people are still trapped. This tells us that the state would take time time to emerge from such ravages of rain," said Sukhu in Hindi in a video shared by ANI.
#WATCH | Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu says "Over 50 people have lost their lives in the state in last 24 hours. Over 20 people are still trapped, the death toll can also increase. Search and rescue operation is underway. We have taken the decision not to organise… pic.twitter.com/bTeaotLcLv— ANI (@ANI) August 14, 2023
Sukhu said that the hope to find survivors among those trapped is getting slimmer as the time passes.
Sukhu further said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress President Mallikarjuna Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President JP Nadda called him and assured all support in the situation. He also said that military and Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel quickly deployed for the relief and rescue work upon rescued and thanked them for the prompt action.
12 dead in Shimla in 2 incidents
At least 12 people have died in Shimla in two incidents.
CM Sukhu said eight bodies have been recovered from the Shiv Mandir in Summer Hill area. In the second incident, the PTI reported that five people died in a landslide in Fagli area where many houses were buried under mud and slush. In Fagli, 17 people were rescued.
Sukhu said the death toll could rise as 20 people are understood to be trapped at the temple and the chances of finding survivors are getting slim with time.
19 killed in Mandi
Mandi has emerged as the worst-hit district in Himachal with at least 19 deaths, reported PTI.
The details of all the fatalities were not immediately clear.
In Seghli panchayat, seven members of a family were killed in a landslide, Deputy Commissioner Arindam Chaudhary told PTI.
In Sambhal near Pardoh, six bodies have been recovered. Two more deaths were reported from Dharampur area.
10 killed in in Solan
A total of 10 deaths have been reported in Solan district in multiple incidents.
In a cloudburst in Jadon village, seven members of a family were killed. Six people were rescued in the incident.
The deceased 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, told PTI.
Two houses in Solan were washed away following the cloudburst on Sunday night, reported PTI.
CM Sukhu has condoled the death of seven people in the cloudburst at Jadon village in Solan district.
Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu condoles the death of seven people in the cloudburst at Jadon village in Solan district.— ANI (@ANI) August 14, 2023
"We have directed the authorities to ensure all possible assistance and support to the affected families during this trying period," he tweets pic.twitter.com/Ry2mlPskGp
Elsewhere in Solan, three people died in multiple incidents. In Balera panchayat, two children died as their makeshift house collapsed in a landslide and a woman died in a landslide in Banal village of Ramsheher tehsil, reported PTI.
There have been heavy rains in Himachal in the past 24 hours that have worsened the conditions in the state. Hundreds of roads, including major stretches of the national highway, were already blocked. On Monday, the HImachal Pradesh government said railway tracks between Kalka and Shimla have also been washed out in the rains. Visuals show tracks dangling in the air as earth bemeath has been swept away.
Kalka- Shimla railway track at km 92/6-92/7 between Jutogh & Summerhill railway stations is washed away due to heavy rains. Movement of trains between Kandaghat- Shimla is cancelled.#TTRHimachal@PoliceShimla@PoliceSolan@drm_umbpic.twitter.com/3VPg9cZahf— HP Traffic, Tourist & Railways Police (@TTRHimachal) August 14, 2023
4 dead in Hamirpur
Four persons died in Hamirpur in rain-related incidents and two more remain missing.
One person was swept away by the flood waters on Sunday night, reported PTI, adding that another elderly woman was buried alive.
In another incident 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, reported PTI.
Kangra breaks all record of rain
Amid red alert in Himachal, Kangra recorded the state's highest rainfall ever.
"In an extraordinary event, Kangra in Himachal Pradesh received exceptionally heavy rainfall of 273.40mm in August, breaking the previous record of 181.44mm on 1st August," tweeted IMD.
In an extraordinary event, Kangra in Himachal Pradesh received exceptionally heavy rainfall of 273.40mm in August, breaking the previous record of 181.44mm on 1st August. Stay safe!#KangraRainfall#WeatherUpdate#RecordBreakingRain@moesgoi@DDNewslive@email@example.com/R6Ab6ktp2g— India Meteorological Department (@Indiametdept) August 14, 2023
Earlier, the IMD on Monday issued a red alert for Himachal and predicted over 204.4 mm rainfall on Monday.
The IMD tweeted, "Himachal Pradesh is predicted to experience heavy to very heavy rainfall reaching extremely heavy levels (more than 204.4mm) on 14th August. Stay safe!"
In a press release on Monday, the IMD said heavy rainfall is likely over Himachal Pradesh on Monday and Tuesday, and, isolated extremely heavy rainfall is also likely in the state in the next 24 hours, but the rainfall would decrease substantially then.
The IMD said such weather conditions could cause flooding, landslides, mudslides, and riverine flooding. The IMD issued the following list of potential impact:
❖ Localised flooding of roads, waterlogging in low lying areas and closure of underpasses
❖ Occasional reduction in visibility
❖ Disruption of traffic in major cities due to waterlogging
❖ Minor damage to kutcha roads
❖ Possibilities of damage to vulnerable structure
❖ Localised landslides/mudslides in the hilly areas
❖ Damage to horticulture and standing crops in some areas due to inundation
❖ Riverine flooding in some river catchments
The Beas River is also in spate and the Himachal Pradesh Police said the areas adjoining the river in Kullu, Mandi, Hamirpur, Kangra, and Nurpur will see an increase in flow of the river in the next few hours, and people should not go close to the river.
People advised to stay safe and not venture close to the banks of the river. (2/2)#BeVigilant#BeSafe#Rainfall#Himalayas#Himachal#Roads#HPPolice@CMOFFICEHP@SpKangra@DDNewsHimachal@MandiPolice@PoliceKullu@SpNurpur@firstname.lastname@example.org/NDLWjZJD25— Himachal Pradesh Police (@himachalpolice) August 14, 2023
In total, 752 roads are blocked in the state as per the state emergency operation centre, reported PTI.