Monsoon rains unleashed havoc across north India on Monday, leaving 47 people dead, thousands of tourists and pilgrims stranded and holding Delhi in its track during the morning rush hour.
The Capital woke up to heavy rain that led to waterlogging, triggering traffic chaos that spilled into afternoon. Waterlogging was reported from many parts of south and east Delhi. Major roads such as the BRT and airport road were partially flooded.
Though civic agencies claimed that desilting had been done, long queues of vehicles told an entirely different story. The city got 17.1 mm of rain on Monday, down from the 58 mm it received on Sunday and early Monday.
In the hill state of Uttarakhand, flashfloods in the Ganga and its tributaries triggered by incessant rains for over 48 hours left a trail of death and destruction, killing 23 people, injuring 19 and damaging 164 buildings.
More than 30,000 tourists and pilgrims stranded in the Garhwal hills. Some 15,000 of them, including Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh, are stuck between Rishikesh and Badrinath.
More than 50 people are reported missing from the Rudraprayag-Kedarnath route. Unofficial figures put the number at 100 and many of them are feared drowned.
Seven persons went missing and five vehicles, including a chopper, were swept away in the heavy rain which was still continuing in a number of places across the state, PTI quoted disaster management authorities in Dehradun as saying.
Uttarakhand is not only home to some of the holiest Hindu shrines such as Badrinath and Kedarnath but also several Sikh holy places.
The Uttar Pradesh government sounded an alert in the districts bordering Uttarakhand and Nepal as major rivers were in spate following heavy rains. Fifteen people died in flash floods in Sharanpur district, IG (law and order) RK Vishwakarma said.
(Video courtesy: CNN IBN)
“Majority of those killed in the flood were pilgrims going to the temple located in Shakumbhari. The vehicles the pilgrims were travelling was swept away in the swift current of the river,” he said.
With the rains not letting up in Himachal, situation worsened in tribal Kinnaur district that remained cut from the rest of state for more than 48 hours. Nine more persons died in different incidents of house collapse in the district.
Out campaigning for a Lok Sabha byelection, chief minister Virbhadra Singh found himself stranded in Sangla village for the second day. Inclement weather didn’t allow helicopter to airlift the CM and landslides have blocked all roads leading to the area. A number of tourists are stranded across the state and efforts are on to rescue them.
The situation is expected to improve. Rainfall activity is likely to fall over entire northwest, including Punjab, Haryana, Delhi-NCR, Uttarakhand and Himachal from June 19 onwards.
Monsoon rains have covered the entire country a month ahead of the normal schedule - the first time in more than 50 years. Early onset of monsoon has brightened prospects of a good output for summer-sown crops such as rice, oilseeds and cotton.