Uttarakhand: 5 dead, 2 missing after cloudburst in Pithoragarh

Two of the four injured villagers were airlifted through a chopper and rushed to a hospital in Dharchula, officials said.
Search operations underway in Pithoragarh district on Monday.
Search operations underway in Pithoragarh district on Monday.
Updated on Aug 30, 2021 11:38 PM IST
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By HT Correspondent, Pithoragarh/dehradun

At least five people were killed after seven houses were hit by debris and muck from a landslide triggered by a cloudburst in Jumma village, in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand, in the wee hours of Monday, officials familiar with the development said.

A search using a sniffer dog is underway for two persons who are feared buried under the debris, they added.

“The disaster occurred in Jamuni and Siroudiyar hamlets (Tok) in Jumma village of Dharchula area when debris and muck damaged seven houses. So far, five bodies -- three teenage girls and two women-- have been recovered. A search is on for other two missing persons,” Pithoragarh district magistrate (DM) Ashish Chauhan said.

The affected village is around 125 km from the district headquarters. The search operation was halted at around 7.30 pm and will resume on Tuesday morning.

District disaster management officer Bhupender Singh Mahar said the deceased were identified as Kumari Sanjana (15), Kumari Renu (11), Kumari Shivani (9), Sunita Singh (22) and Parvati Devi, whose age is yet to ascertained. The two missing are Chander Singh and his wife Hajari Devi, he added.

Two of the four injured villagers were airlifted through a chopper and rushed to a hospital in Dharchula, the officials cited above said.

On receiving information about the disaster on Monday morning, several teams of police, revenue, state disaster response force (SDRF) and national disaster response force (NDRF) rushed to the area to hold rescue operations.

Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB) personnel were the first ones to reach the site to begin rescue operations.

SSB commandant Mahendra Pratap Singh said: “We received information from the district disaster management officer at around 9 am after which our men posted at the border outpost, 10 kms away from Jumani hamlet, reached the spot at 10 am. Meanwhile, another team reached Siroudiyar hamlet, 2 km away from Jumani hamlet, after knowing that it too was affected by the cloudburst. Our men recovered the body of a younger woman. Later SDRF and NDRF joined the search and rescue operation. So far, five bodies have been recovered.”

He added: “A team of 27 men carried out search and rescue work in the affected area.”

Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami spoke to the Pithoragarh DM on phone and Kumaon commissioner Sushil Kumar via video conferencing, and directed them to shift the affected residents to safer areas and make arrangements for essential food supplies and medicines.

Dhami is expected to visit the area once the weather improves.

The district, which has received 1,170 mm rain since June 1, has been witnessing heavy rainfall for the past few days. Rivers such as Kali, Gori and Saryu have already begun flowing near the danger level. The incessant downpour has als triggered landslides and boulder falls, halting all movement in five border roads and 10 rural roads.

Meanwhile, two children were trapped after their house in Kotda village in Dehradun’s Vikas Nagar area collapsed on Monday. Only one child was rescued till the time of filing this report.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021