At least 50 people were feared to have been washed away in a flash flood, following a severe cloudburst in Ganvi village of Rampur in Shimla district late on Tuesday evening.
The cloudburst reportedly took place at Dharla village situated above the Ganvi power project-II, about 16 kilometres from Rampur around 6 p.m., sources said.
Among those who were washed away were labourers working at the construction site of the project, besides six government employees. Many schoolchildren and women were also reported to be missing.
Sources said that the gushing waters had completely damaged 14 houses, a hospital and a school building, while 12 houses were damaged partially as local residents were caught unawares and did not find time to escape.
Panchayat members of Ganvi village put the figure of those missing at over 60 and said at least 20 houses were swept away in the sudden deluge following the cloudburst.
Deputy Commissioner of Shimla Tarun Kapoor could not provide details about the extent of casualties. He said: “As per preliminary information, at least 15 persons could be dead, while around 10 houses could be damaged.”
The national highway has been extensively damaged at Juri, while the road connecting Ganvi has been blocked following a pileup of debris, he added. “A rescue team has left for the site, but it was finding it difficult to conduct the rescue operation due to the darkness and road blockades,” Kapoor said.
Rampur Sub-Divisional Magistrate D.K. Rattan, who has rushed to the village, said the toll could not be confirmed yet, but among the buildings destroyed in the flood were those of the primary health centre and irrigation and public health department buildings.