Himachal Pradesh, renowned for its picturesque mountains and popular tourist destinations, is grappling with a devastating natural calamity as heavy rainfall wreaks havoc. At least 61 people have lost their lives this week due to landslides and flash floods in the state, prompting Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu to declare an approximate loss of ₹10,000 crore in the aftermath.
The calamity has struck several regions, including Summer Hill, Krishna Nagar, and Phagli in the state capital Shimla, leaving a trail of destruction. Reports indicate that numerous lives have been claimed, with landslides in particular exacerbating the situation. A fresh landslide was reported today in Summer Hill, adding to the already grim situation.
Recovery efforts have been underway, with 13 bodies retrieved from debris in Summer Hill, five from Phagli, and two from Krishna Nagar. A temple collapse incident has also resulted in several individuals being feared trapped under debris.
The recent cloudburst event in Solan district resulted in seven casualties, underscoring the scale of the catastrophe. Over 800 people have been successfully rescued from low-lying areas, and evacuation operations are ongoing.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu conducted an aerial survey of the affected areas in Kangra district, emphasizing the substantial challenges that lie ahead. He stated that the state would need a year to rebuild the infrastructure that has been significantly damaged by the monsoon’s fury.
The Chief Minister acknowledged the need for a concerted effort in the reconstruction process, even as he assured that the restoration work would be undertaken with utmost dedication. Despite the mountain-like challenges posed by the calamity, he expressed determination not to back down.
As a response to the disaster, schools, colleges, and teaching activities in the state have been suspended until August 19. Himachal Pradesh University has also taken similar measures to ensure safety during the extreme weather conditions.
The disaster has prompted the deployment of National Disaster Response Force teams, in addition to assistance from the Air Force, Army, and Indo-Tibetan Border Police for rescue operations. A multitude of roads, approximately 800, have been blocked due to landslides, contributing to the extensive damages and losses that Himachal Pradesh has endured this monsoon season.
Both Himachal Pradesh and neighboring Uttarakhand, which have witnessed a comparable spate of fatalities and destruction this monsoon season, are bracing for further rainfall according to weather forecasts. The state Congress has called for central government support and requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare Himachal Pradesh as a disaster-hit region.
Sources By Agencies