September 28, 2023

Himachal Pradesh floods: Over 91 dead; IMD predicts heavy rainfall for five days

The number of fatalities in North India is on the rise as the region continues to be battered by torrential rains since the last weekend which triggered landslides and flash floods. Among all the affected states, Himachal Pradesh remains the hardest hit, with 91 reported deaths in the state. Meanwhile, 91 people lost their lives in Himachal Pradesh during the monsoon fury from June 24 to July 13.

“91 people lost their lives in Himachal Pradesh from June 24 to July 13. 34 deaths happened due to landslides, cloudbust, and flash floods,” the government officials’ data stated. Furthermore, over 1000 roads in the state are still closed, and more than 5000 water supply schemes have been damaged. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Himachal Pradesh is expected to experience heavy rainfall starting from July 14, with the downpour projected to last for five days. The continuous rain has triggered flash floods and landslides, resulting in significant destruction across Himachal Pradesh. Meanwhile, while giving updates on the current situation of Himachal Pradesh DIG (NDRF) Mohsen Shahidi said that the situation in Himachal Pradesh has improved.

“According to the weather forecast, there are chances of rain for the next two days in Uttarakhand. Roads in Haridwar and Rishikesh will be affected; we have deployed four NDRF teams and are coordinating with SDRF Uttarakhand. The situation in Himachal Pradesh has improved…,” he said. Earlier, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu on Thursday brought several stranded tourists from Sangla to Shimla in the IAF helicopter in which he was travelling. CM Sukhu visited the flood-hit Thunag Sub-division in Seraj constituency of district Mandi and took stock of the situation at Thunag market which is severely affected by the flood. He announced to provide rupees one lakh each to the affected families and also directed to channel the Thunag rivulet to avoid such mishaps. CM Sukhu also announced to provide land for the construction of the house which was swept away and directed to clear the debris from the market at the earliest. He also interacted with the locals and assured them of every possible assistance from the government.

Meanwhile, CM Sukhu said more than 50,000 tourists have been evacuated by rescuers from across the state. The Himachal CM also lauded officials across various state departments, who are involved in the ongoing rescue and evacuation work. “We have successfully evacuated over 50,000 tourists from Himachal Pradesh in the last 48 hours, till 8 PM today. I would like to thank our administration and staff across various departments, who are working tirelessly and round the clock to restore our roads, power, water supply, and network connectivity,” tweeted CM Sukhu. Meanwhile, acting DGP of Himachal Pradesh, Satwant Atwal Trivedi took to her Twitter handle on Wednesday to say that 6 Israeli tourists had been transferred safely to the town of Manikaran, while another 37 were safe and in good health at Barshaini. “POSITIVE from Manikaran, 6 Israelis have been brought to PP Manikaran and remaining 37 Israeli nationals are at Barshaini and all are safe and in healthy condition,” tweeted IPS Atwal. The Himachal Pradesh police said that all stranded tourists evacuated from Chandra Taal and have reached Losar. “All tourists have been evacuated from Chander Taal and have reached Losar,’ HP Police tweeted. The tourists were stranded at Chandra Taal Lake for the past few days due to heavy snowfall. Losar village in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh received an ‘unexpected’ spell of snowfall on July 9 while various parts of north India remain affected due to heavy rainfall.

Chandra Taal, a renowned lake in the Lahul and Spiti district, is a popular tourist attraction. Himachal Pradesh Education Minister, Rohit Thakur assured the safety of all tourists, including foreign nationals stuck in monsoon fury. “As far as you are asking about the foreign nationals 37 Israel tourists were safely evacuated. The deputy High commissioner has also come in Kullu, I just confirmed it from the acting DGP, she said all are safe. I shall be able to give you more details after confirmation,” said Rohit Thakur. Giving information, Thakur who is monitoring flood situation in Shimla said that 60000 tourists from Himachal Pradesh have been successfully evacuated out of Himachal Pradesh while 10000 tourists are being shifted by HRTC buses from Kasol. “The foreign tourists who were stranded at the site have also been successfully evacuated by the rescue team,” he added. According to information received from the police administration, 37 Israelis were stranded in Kasol. Apart from this, 294 tourists who were stranded in Chandratal have also been successfully taken to Losar on foot. He said that Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu had entrusted the responsibility of rescuing tourists from Chandratal to Cabinet Minister Jagat Singh Negi and CPS Sanjay Awasthi. Meanwhie, assistance is being sought from the Central Government to compensate for the heavy damages caused by the monsoon in Himachal Pradesh. Moreover, Thakur extended monsoon holidays for schools in Himachal Pradesh.

Rohit Thakur said, “The monsoon holidays have been extended till July 16 for the schools.” Amid the grim situation in Himachal Pradesh due to incessant rainfall, Israeli Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) to India, Ohad Nakash Kaynar, along with officials himself, embarked on a rescue mission to locate the missing Israeli citizens in the state. Taking to Twitter, Kaynar said, “Taking off to #HimachalPradesh to locate the incommunicado Israelis. On the way we saw collapsed roads and mudslides. Nature is sometimes overwhelming”. “In this video, you can see an example of mudslides and rocks collapsing on the road. This is one of many such instances of natural destruction,” he added in a subsequent tweet. Notably, the Kasol region in Himachal Pradesh is famously called as ‘Mini Israel’, because of the high proportion of tourists here. Meanwhile, 2500 tents have been set up in 6 districts of the national capital to shift people from the affected areas. Moreover, Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that the Centre is extending full support to the state after landslides and flash floods triggered by heavy rains claimed over 80 lives and damaged infrastructure estimated to be in crores. Earlier, Thakur visited flood-affected areas in Bhuntar town of Kullu district. “Panchayat and Nagar Panchayat have been affected due to the rain. I have come here to monitor the situation. What I can see is that the loss is huge for which the recovery is very difficult. Big houses have been destroyed and people have been rendered homeless…,” he told reporters “The two rivers Beas and Parvati converge here and as a result, the natural river course has been affected, leading to a big diversion. This is the cause of the majority of the damage…The central government is extending full support to the state…,” the BJP leader added. Moreover, the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Competitive (Preliminary) Examination has been postponed to August 20 owing to incessant rainfall in the state which has led to damage to roads. Earlier the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Competitive (Preliminary) Examination was scheduled on July 23. (ANI)