Unfrequented rain has left trails of devastation across tribal Kinnaur district. Floods triggered by rain swallowed up lives, homes, farmlands, fruit orchards and roads. Rain across the district was more traumatic for residents of Chaugaon that lies close to the Hindustan-Tibet road connecting the China border.
Vinay Charas, when slept along with his family members, did not know that the house collapse would prove fatal for his family. It was on the intervening night of Sunday that his two-storeyed house collapsed due to heavy rain. With no electricity in the village, residents could not figure out what really went wrong.
“The noise we heard was similar to that of boulders falling from the hillside. But on coming out we figured that Vinay's house had collapsed,” Kanta Devi, panchayat pradhan of Chaugaon village.
The villagers tried everything possible to figure out family members of Vinay. There was not even a scream they could hear of. Heavy rain during the night prevented the villagers from carrying out digging out the buried from the rubbles.
However, at dawn, the entire village gathered to carry the rescue work. Amid heavy rain, the villagers continue to dig the rubbles, but to their dismay there was no sign of life.
It was after frantic efforts that stretched 24 hours, villagers recovered two bodies - that of Vinay and his daughter Mansi, 12.
“When I saw the body of my brother and my niece, I only hoped that other members come out live,” said Ramesh Charas, Vinay's elder brother.
Soon the villagers heard some sound under the rubbles and they were able to retrieve Vinay's son Pankaj, who showed some sign of life.
Pankaj was shifted to a nearby hospital, where he recovered from the shock. But ironically it took the villagers 72 hours to recover two more bodies from the house debris.
It was only on Wednesday noon that two other dead - Ramdasi and her elder daughter Ritu's bodies were recovered. A pall of gloom descended on the village.
“There was no help from the government side. It is only today that revenue officials reached the village to assess the losses,” he said. All four were cremated at the village in the evening.