The Himachal Pradesh government has rescued 898 people who were stranded in heavy rain and snow over the past three days, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. Additional Chief Secretary Manisha Nanda said around 900 people are yet to be rescued, mostly from parts of Lahaul-Spiti, Kullu and Manali.
Nanda said this was the “biggest ever rescue operation” to be launched in the state till date after heavy rain and cloudbursts triggered flash floods and landslides in several districts of the state while snowfall cut off Lahaul and Spiti from the rest of the state from September 22 to September 24. At least 368 people were evacuated from snow-hit Lahaul and Spiti districts on Wednesday when rescue operations were intensified after the rain relented, reported The New Indian Express.
Around 600 roads, mostly link roads, were reopened Wednesday while the Kullu-Chandigarh National Highway that was blocked due to landslides opened to traffic on Tuesday evening.
The Indian Air Force airlifted 13 people, including three children, from a remote area in Chhota Dara on the way to Chandrataal near Kullu. A few men were still stranded at the spot and were provided with food packets and medicines, according to ANI.
Manali was once again cut off from district headquarters Kullu on Wednesday after National Highway 3 on the left bank of Beas river was closed due to a landslide, according to the Hindustan Times. Deputy Commissioner Yunus Khan said work to restore traffic was under way.
According to the state government, the total loss of public property was pegged at Rs 1,443.92 crore between July 1 and September 25. Of this, Rs 220.29 crore was recorded in just three days from September 22 to 24.
“According to the initial surveys, a loss of Rs 220.29 crore has been reported but the final survey would be completed only after the completion of rescue work and the figures of loss would be much more,” said Nanda. She said the Border Roads Organisation helped in the rescue operations in areas that were covered by 5 feet of snow.