Woman killed, 10 missing as flash floods, landslides hit Dharamshala
Dharamshala A woman was killed and about 10 people were reported missing in landslides triggered by heavy rains in Boh village (45km from Dharamshala) of Shahpur sub-division of Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district on Monday. Also, about a dozen vehicles were swept away and many buildings either gave in or were damaged in flash floods in various parts of Kangra district as bad weather also led to the closure of the Gaggal airport.
A drain near Bhagsunag in upper Dharamshala, adjoining McLeodganj, changed its course owing to heavy rains, sweeping away about 10 cars and bikes, video clips showed. A government school building at Bhagsunag was also damaged and adjacent hotels there were inundated, it showed.
All rivers and rivulets in Dharamshala and Palampur besides Kullu were in spate as rain lashed the region since Sunday night. Manjhi rivulet that was flowing dangerously close to settlements damaged three houses and some shops were damaged in Chetru and Bagli area near Dharamshala. People whose houses are on the riverside have moved to safer places.
Kangra senior superintendent of police (SSP) Vimukt Ranjan confirmed that a woman’s body was recovered from the debris. “We don’t have exact information of causalities. Exact figures regarding loss of life and property will be known in the coming days,” he said.
Kangra deputy commissioner Nipun Jindal said Boh village was cut-off due to the landslide. “Given the heavy rain forecast, a five-day alert has been issued. All the department heads have been directed to remain available on phone round the clock. People have been advised to not to leave their houses. People may call the district disaster management authority on toll-free number 1077 or phone numbers 01892-229050, 229051, 229052 in case of emergency,” he said.
DDMA training and capacity builder coordinator Bhanu Sharma said, “The DDMA has sent a requisition to the Indian Air Force but aerial rescue will not be possible at present due to the bad weather.”
Jindal said, “All the tourists visiting Dharamsala have been instructed to postpone their tour so that they do not face any kind of inconvenience.” He said the tourists who have already arrived in Dharamsala and its surrounding places have also been advised to stay where they are as roads etc. have also been damaged due to heavy rains, which may cause problems in their movement.”
Shahpur was the wettest place in the state, recording 264 mm or rainfall, followed by Dharamshala with 211mm, Palampur 162mm, Kangra 148mm, Laman 125mm, Baijnath 78mm, Joginder Nagar 76mm, Mandi 60mm, Dalhousie 50mm and Kufri 31mm.
The meteorological department has issued an orange weather warning of heavy to very heavy rain in the middle and low hills for Tuesday. There is a yellow weather warning for July 14 and 15. The higher reaches may get a fresh spell of snowfall.
Shimla weather office director Manmohan Singh said landslides and uprooting of trees may occur due to the incessant rain.
NDRF teams dispatched: Amit Shah
Union home minister Amit Shah said National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were heading to the affected areas. “I have spoken to chief minister Jai Ram Thakur about the natural disaster due to heavy rains. NDRF teams are reaching for relief work. Home ministry is regularly monitoring the situation. Centre will provide all possible help to Himachal,” he tweeted.
Jai Ram said: “I have sought report from the concerned district authorities. Locals and tourists are requested to take all precautions and do not venture near the rivers and water streams,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “The situation in Himachal Pradesh due to heavy rains is being closely monitored. Authorities are working with the state government. All possible support is being extended. I pray for the safety of those in affected areas.”
Pathankot-Mandi highway has been blocked for traffic due to landslide at several places and minor damage to a bridge near Manali.
Mandi-Manali highway was also closed due to landslide. The traffic was diverted via Kataula for some time but even that route was also closed in the afternoon.