Four killed in heavy rains, MeT issues red alert for four districts including Shimla

Shimla: Heavy overnight rains triggered landslides in Himachal Pradesh, claiming four lives and blocking over 200 more roads besides damaging some houses, officials said on Wednesday.

The meteorological office on Wednesday issued a red alert predicting “heavy to very heavy rainfall with isolated spells of extremely heavy” rains in four of the state’s 12 districts for the next 24 hours.

A total of 530 roads in the state are now shut following three major spells of heavy rains this Monsoon that have left a trail of death and destruction.

Shimla town was the most hit, with landslides and uprooted trees blocking the main cart road, the lifeline of the town as well as the Shimla-Mehli bypass at several points. Many houses have also developed cracks and people have been evacuated as a precautionary measure.

A migrant identified as Jhalo and his wife Rajkumari were found dead in their makeshift house in Baldeyan area of Shimla district, Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi told PTI.

The police officer also appealed to residents to avoid unnecessary travel.

Two persons, Parma Nand (62) and his grandson Gopi (14), were killed in a landslide at Dagol village of Seraj in Mandi district.

About 80 people have died in rain-related incidents in the state this month while a total of 227 people have died while 38 are still missing since the onset of monsoon in Himachal Pradesh on June 24.

The red alert warning was issued in the afternoon for parts of Kangra, Kullu, Mandi and Shimla districts. The Met Department also issued an orange warning of heavy to very heavy rains on August 24.

All schools and colleges have been closed for two days beginning Wednesday in Shimla, Mandi and Solan districts.

The landslides also left some houses damaged in Solan district.

Deputy Commissioner, Solan, Manmohan Sharma told PTI that some houses have been damaged in Shakal village on the outskirts of Solan city as gushing waters entered the premises.

There are also reports of damage to a few houses and vehicles in Sabathu area following a landslide.

The roads that have been affected include National Highway NH 21 (Mandi-Kullu road) and NH 154 (Mandi-Pathankot), according to the data of the State Emergency Operation Centre.

Cracks have also developed in some houses in Shimla city. As a safety measure, houses were vacated in Panthaghati and Sanjauli areas of Shimla city and landslides and uprooting of trees have been reported in some parts of the city, Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, Aditya Negi said.

Fearing danger, several people in Shimla city have left their houses and moved to other places.

Videos of people running to save their lives following landslides appeared on social media. A parked bus near the inter-state bus terminal in Shimla was buried following a landslide while several other vehicles were damaged in landslips near Navbahar, Himland and other places.

Many Shimla residents had a sleepless night as the city witnessed thunderstorms and lightning till 3 am.

Commuters also had a hard time as buses were not plying due to the risk of landslides and falling trees.

“I have walked for nearly six km to reach my office as buses were not plying. We were scared all night as loss of life in recent landslides have triggered fear,” said resident Jagat Ram.

Heavy rains lashed several parts of the state overnight, with Bilaspur receiving 181 mm of rain followed by Berthin 160 mm, Shimla 132 mm, Mandi 118 mm, Sundernagar 105 mm, Palampur 91 mm, Solan 77 mm.

Heavy rains are still continuing in several districts.

The MeT also cautioned of moderate to high flash flood risk in Shimla, Sirmaur, Kangra, Chamba, Mandi, Hamirpur, Solan, Bilaspur and Kullu districts.

The seasonal rainfall was 752.1 mm against a normal rainfall of 550.4 mm, an excess of 36 per cent from June 24 to August 22.

Himachal saw three major spells of heavy rains this Monsoon. The first on July 9 and 10 led to large-scale destruction in Mandi and Kullu districts.

Shimla and Solan districts were hit during the second spell on August 14 and 15 and Shimla city suffered heavy damage in the third spell on Tuesday night.

Over 12,000 houses have been completely or partially damaged, according to the state emergency operation centre.

Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has claimed that the state has suffered losses of Rs 10,000 crore in the heavy rains.

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