Death toll in Himachal Pradesh reaches 57 as rainfall and landslides continue

Massive rainfall and landslides have killed up to 57 people in Himachal Pradesh, while thousands have been evacuated by the government.

Death toll in Himachal Pradesh reaches 57 as rainfall and landslides continue

Photo credit: Down To Earth/Facebook

Himachal Pradesh has been battered by heavy rainfall and landslides since Sunday, August 13th. As a result widespread destruction in various areas of Himachal Pradesh has been reported, leading to the destruction of buildings and properties.

The death toll in the rain fury in Himachal Pradesh rose to 57 on Wednesday, August 16th, with the body of a woman being pulled out of the debris of a collapsed Shiv temple near Summer Hill, officials said. “Rescue operations are going on in Summer Hill and Krishna Nagar areas and one body has been recovered from Summer Hill,” Aditya Negi, Deputy Commissioner, informed the press. 

The Indian Meteorological Department has predicted that both Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand will face heavy downpours in the next four days. 

The Himachal Pradesh government has initiated rescue operations and mass evacuations as a disaster management measure. On Tuesday, August 15th, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu summoned a meeting of a high-powered committee to speed up the disaster management measures. He pointed out that an extraordinary surge of 157% in rainfall over the past four days has led to collateral damage across the whole state. 

Sukhu emphasised that his administration is dedicated to accelerating the restoration process as a top priority. According to him, approximately 400 out of the total 1,220 blocked roads have been successfully reopened. He also ordered to restore essential services such as electricity and water. 

“Due to the urban expansion of Shimla, torrential rains have led to the uprooting of more than 500 trees, posing potential challenges for local residents. To alleviate these concerns, the Forest Department was directed to swiftly and properly dispose of the fallen trees. Adequate manpower should be deployed to ensure efficient execution of this task”, Sukhu mentioned. 

Sukhu also did an aerial survey of the Fatehpur and Indora assembly constituencies in Kangra district. He wrote on micro-blogging platform X (formerly Twitter) that he also visited the flood-affected Damtal and Sheikhpura, where relief camps have been set up.

According to the chief minister, 27 panchayats of Fatehpur and Indora have been affected and 1,150 people have been evacuated from those areas until Wednesday. He claimed that the state government will provide a special package as relief and compensation for these areas.

The heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh also supplements landslips in Summer Hill and Krishna Nagar and Fagli areas of Shimla, the state’s capital. As per authorities, there were concerns about residents possibly being trapped under the debris. In response, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and state police personnel are deployed for rescue operations.

In addition, on Tuesday, the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted a single airlift mission to transport 18 army soldiers, assisting in the rescue operation after the landslides in Shimla. 

According to the IAF, the Western Air Command has conducted over 50 sorties between Monday and Wednesday to rescue up to 780 civilians from the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

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