At least 18 people were killed and many people were stranded in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday as heavy rains lashed the state. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said deputy commissioners had been instructed to keep an eye on the situation and ensure safety of local people and tourists, The Hindu reported.
“Tourists have also been advised to stay away from river beds as there is always the possibility of sudden rise in water levels due to flash floods,” Thakur said. “Lahaul and Spiti district witnessed untimely snow yesterday and this morning due to which there has been heavy damage to crops.”
Landslides blocked the national highways between Chandigarh and Manali, and Shimla and Kinnaur. Teams were sent to rescue around 60 people from Uttarakhand stranded near Shimla’s Rohru area, said Chief Secretary BK Agarwal.
Earlier in the day, landslides hit a Regional Transport Office in Shimla, claiming three lives. One person is still trapped under the debris, officials added. In a separate incident in the city, a labourer was killed after the wall of a house collapsed early on Sunday. Another man was killed in a landslide on the national highway near Hatkoti Kenchi in Rohru.
One person was swept away in Sajwar Nullah in Kullu while two people from Nepal died after a tree fell on a house in Shimla district’s Narkand area.
Authorities in Shimla asked schools and colleges to remain closed on Monday because of the rain. “In view of heavy rains, blockages and damage caused to roads, it has become necessary to order closure of all the educational institutions in Shimla district on August 19 for the safety of students,” PTI quoted Shimla deputy commissioner and District Magistrate Amit Kashyap as saying. A similar order was issued in Kullu district, according to ANI.
Traffic was disrupted on 68 roads across the state with 47 blockades in Chamba district, a government spokesperson told IANS. National Highway 3 between Kullu and Manali was partially damaged by landslides.
Train services between Shimla and Kalka in Haryana are expected to resume from Monday. Meanwhile, excess water was released from the Nathpa Jhakri plant, which is India’s largest hydro project, in Kinnaur district as a preventive measure, reported News18.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government issued a flood alert for the city and asked residents in low-lying areas to move to higher ground as water levels in the Yamuna inched close to a warning level, PTI reported.
Water was released into the river from Haryana’s Hathini Kund barrage in the evening and authorities expect the levels to rise more on Monday.
“Water level in Yamuna may cross the warning level, which is 204.5 metres, on Monday,” said an unidentified official. The government has started to prepare for evacuations by setting up tents in nearby areas.
In Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district, the Tons river washed away almost 20 homes. Several people are reportedly missing. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has instructed the district magistrate and disaster management secretary to conduct rescue operations and provide relief material to the survivors.
The state government has reportedly deployed the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the National Disaster Response Force and the State Disaster Response Fund for the search-and-rescue operation, according to NDTV.
The torrential downpour has made movement in the state. The Gangotri highway and the Uttarkashi-Dehradun highway are closed because of landslides. Flash floods and cloudbursts have left many stranded in several parts of the state. The India Meteorological Department predicted heavy rainfall in Chamoli, Pithoragarh, Dehradun, Pauri and Nainital districts in the next three days.
In Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, 11 people were rescued after they got stuck in floods caused by the overflowing Beas river. Some people from the Gujjar community were rescued near Chachian Shorian village in a joint operation by district officials and the Indian Army, Deputy Commissioner Vipul Ujwal told PTI. Floods were reported from Rupnagar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Pathankot areas of Punjab.
A high alert was sounded in Punjab and Haryana. “In view of heavy discharge being released in the rivers in the state, a high-flood warning has been issued to the concerned districts,” PTI reported, citing a request by Haryana’s Revenue and Disaster Management department to the Indian Army. “Considering this, you are requested to direct concerned Army officials to be in a state of high readiness to be able to deploy resources at a very short notice.”
Disaster management officials have been asked to remain at their stations till the situation becomes normal.
Several parts of Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai also received heavy rainfall on Sunday with more showers predicted in the next 48 hours. “During the next 24-48 hours, due to upper air circulation moderate rainfall may occur across several districts in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry,” said Regional Meteorological Centre Director N Puviarasan.
Heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected in certain parts of Tamil Nadu in the next two days, the weather department added in its bulletin. In the last 24 hours, the highest rainfall was recorded in Vellore district’s Alangayam area.
Heavy downpour is also expected in Kerala, interior regions of South Karnataka, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema and Telangana, according to the Met department.