Heavy rain and cloudbursts have triggered flash floods and landslides in several districts of Himachal Pradesh while snowfall has cut off Lahaul and Spiti, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday. At least 11 people died in rain-related incidents in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, reported PTI.
The Himachal Pradesh government has ordered schools in at least nine districts to remain closed on Monday because of heavy rainfall in the state. Schools in Kullu, Kinnaur, Chamba, Kangra, Bilaspur, Sirmaur, Mandi, Shimla and Solan will remain closed with the weather department predicting heavy to very heavy rain over the state.
Manali has been cut off from the district headquarters of Kullu and rest of the state after the Beas river breached its banks and submerged roads on either side of the river. The water level in the river rose after torrential rain over the last 24 hours. In Chamba district, the Ravi river was flowing at the danger mark and people were evacuated from low-lying areas.
Several roads across the state, especially in Kinnaur and Chamba districts, were blocked due to landslides, heavy rain and snowfall, PTI reported quoting district officials.
National Highway 3 near Aut in Mandi district was blocked as water from the flooded Beas river entered the highway, ANI reported. At least five people were reported missing after their car was washed away in Manali, ANI quoted Sub-Divisional Magistrate Raman Gharsangi as saying.
The Army has been called in to rescue two people stranded in flash floods in Kangra district’s Saurabh Van Vihar, a park in Palampur. The fire brigade and rescue teams have arrived at the spot and are waiting for the water level to recede.
An unidentified official of the Border Roads Organisation said 20 people who were stranded on the Rohtang Pass were rescued. Rohtang Pass, which received about 4 feet of fresh snow, has been closed, according to IANS.
According to the India Meteorological Department, heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected in the central and western districts of the state while the higher reaches of Kullu, Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur are expected to receive snowfall, reported ANI.
On Saturday, an Indian Air Force helicopter rescued 19 people stuck in flash floods at Dobi in Kullu district on Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur’s directions, a government spokesperson told IANS. At least 120 people stranded at Koksar in the Lahaul Valley were rescued, while 23 people have been rescued from Marhi and 23 from Rohtang area in Kullu district.
“We are trying to evacuate and rehabilitate people,” Kullu Deputy Commissioner Yunus Khan told ANI. “I request people not to go to high reach areas and near rivers.”
In Manali, an empty tourist bus was washed away into the flooded Beas river, while trucks were washed off the road into the Beas river in Kullu region.
Authorities opened the sluice gates of four dams – Larji, Pandoh and Sanan in Mandi and Chamera in Chamba. Flooded rivers have caused widespread damage in Kangra and Chamba districts. The highway connecting Manali with Leh in Jammu and Kashmir was closed for traffic owing to heavy snow, an official of the General Reserve Engineering Force told IANS.
Director of Meteorological Centre in Shimla, Manmohan Singh, on Sunday said most parts of the state received moderate to heavy rain in 24 hours, PTI reported. Manali in Kullu district received the highest rainfall of 127.4 mm while upper parts of the state, including Lahaul-Spiti district, received snowfall.
Chamba sub-divisional magistrate has warned people not to venture near the Ravi river and other rivers as water is being released from the Chamera dam. The water level in Beas is increasing due to incessant rain in the catchment areas, PTI reported. The river was also in spate in Hamirpur district.