The relentless downpour and subsequent landslides have caused a tragic toll of 60 lives in the regions of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Search and rescue operations are ongoing to locate survivors and retrieve bodies from the wreckage of collapsed homes scattered across various areas.
Himachal Pradesh bore the brunt of these calamities, with Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu revealing that 60 people have lost their lives since the onset of heavy rainfall on August 13.
Weather forecasters anticipate isolated yet intense rainfall to persist in Himachal Pradesh over the next two days and in Uttarakhand for the next four days.
Recent events included the recovery of three bodies from landslide debris on Tuesday. Among these, one body was retrieved from the remains of a Shiva temple in Shimla, while two individuals perished in a fresh landslide within the city.
Krishnanagar locality in Shimla witnessed the collapse of eight houses, including six makeshift ones, and the burial of a slaughterhouse under debris following a landslide.
The toll has risen, with a total of 19 bodies recovered just on Monday. Twelve of these were found at the Shiva temple site in Summer Hill, five at Fagli, and two in Krishnanagar. The collapsed Shiva temple still holds the possibility of more than 10 individuals being trapped since it crumbled on Monday.
Due to the inclement weather, all schools and colleges in the state will remain closed on Wednesday, as mandated by an education department directive.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Army, alongside police and SDRF (State Disaster Response Force), have resumed rescue operations at Summer Hill, while Deputy Commissioner of Shimla, Aditya Negi, mentioned the suspension of these operations during Monday night due to heavy rainfall, as per a report in India Today.
Rescue Operations Underway
The weather office has sounded an orange alert for August 15 and a yellow alert for the next four days until August 19. In response to the situation, Himachal Pradesh University has suspended teaching activities until August 19, and the university library will also remain closed until August 20.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu led a review meeting on Tuesday to assess the ongoing circumstances in the state. He emphasized the state government's dedication to expedite restoration efforts as a top priority, directing officials to swiftly restore electricity and water supply schemes affected by the torrential rain.
In Uttarakhand, the death toll from rain-related incidents has risen to six, with two more bodies discovered and seven people still missing. Heavy rains have persisted in the state since Monday.
A woman's body, missing after a swollen river Pawar inundated villages in Uttarkashi district's Arakot area, was found on Tuesday. In a separate incident, the body of a 14-year-old girl, Tejaswini, was recovered from a rain-fed stream in Rishikesh. A yellow alert has been issued for several areas in Uttarakhand until August 19, urging people to avoid venturing into flood and landslide-affected zones.
Efforts are ongoing to rescue trapped individuals after a building collapsed in Helang near the subsidence-affected Joshimath in Chamoli district. Earlier this year, numerous houses in Joshimath were damaged due to land subsidence, and the arrival of the monsoon exacerbated the issue.
Rains In Delhi Break Record
According to India Meteorological Department, New Delhi's Safdarjung recorded the third highest 24-hour rainfall (for the month of July) on 8th-09th July, 2023, since 1958. The Safdarjung weather station, which is the city's weather base recorded 153 mm of rain till 8.30 am, the IMD said in a tweet along with the details of the five highest rainfall records of 24-hour rainfall in the month of July for New Delhi (Safdarjung) during 1958-2023.
In 1958, Safdarjung Observatory had recorded 266.2 mm of rain during the July 20-21 period while in 1982, it logged 169.9 during the July 25-26 period, IMD said. Moderate to heavy rain continued to lash several parts of the city and its adjoining areas on early Sunday morning with the IMD predicting high-intensity showers over the National Capital for the next two days.
Amid the heavy rains in different parts of the country, India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Sunday predicted that rainfall activity will continue over Northwest India, but the intensity of showers may differ. The downpour slowed down the traffic movement after waterlogging in several parts of the city. Pictures and videos of commuters wading through knee-deep water flooded social media platforms, raising concerns about the efficiency of the city's drainage infrastructure.
Also Read: Life Comes To Halt In UP & Delhi; Incessant Rains Lead To Loss Of Life, Shelter, Livelihoods