Incessant rainfall in Himachal Pradesh and neighbouring states has caused major disruption of normal life in these area. The latest casualties include two people who died in Kinnaur district of Himachal, when their car slipped off the road and rolled down a hill. Death toll in Himachal has risen to eight, while a total of 23 people have died in northern India. This includes a family of five who were buried under a landslide in J & K.
Heavy rains have also triggered flash floods and landslides, posing further challenges for the residents of these area. In Kullu, three people were swept away in a flash flood. Rescue workers had to airlift another two people in order to save them. Dharamshala, Kangra, Una and other areas have also reported a few casualties.
On Monday, the authorities decided to close down 378 road. These include 213 roads in Shimla zone, 49 in Mandi zone, 29 in Hamirpur zone and 86 in Kangra zone. A huge boulder hit a moving car on the Kalka Shimla highway. This caused severe traffic disruption. However, occupants of the car escaped unharmed. Kalka Shimla rail line, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has also been blocked after landslides.
Although it was expected that the rains would cease after Monday, the present weather hasn’t shown much improvement.
Residents of Himachal evacuated
As Beas and Ravi rivers, and some of their tributaries continued to swell, authorities have had to evacuated hundreds of people living along the river banks. They have been taken to relatively safer locations in Kullu, Chamba, Kangra and Mandi districts. Flash floods have swept away several homes along the banks of these rivers.
The heavy downpour has also caused tourists to be trapped in different locations including Rohtang Pass, Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti. In Spiti, 12 tourists from Sikkim were evacuated to a hotel. District administrations have decided to keep schools and colleges closed in Sirmaur, Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti.
Manali cut-off due to rains
The downpour has cut off Manali from other parts of Himachal Pradesh. This is because many roads on the banks of Beas river have been washed away. Earlier this week, a video circulating on the Internet showed an empty tourist bus getting engulfed by the river. The only road connectivity right now is for small vehicles through a temporary link on Raison Bridge.
The Chandigarh-Manali highway on the right bank of Beas river has also suffered extensive damage.