9 feared dead in flash floods in Himachal; 7 missing in Lahaul-Spiti

Chandigarh-Manali highway closed for traffic following landslides

Mandi/Shimla, July 28

At least nine people are killed and seven reported missing in flash floods triggered by heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh, an official said on Wednesday. 

State Disaster Management Director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta said seven people died in Lahaul-Spiti flash floods triggered by a cloudburst over Tozing Nullah in Udaipur.

Two men are dead in Chamba district, he added.

In Kullu district, four people, including a hydro project official and a Delhi tourist, are missing and feared dead.

In Lahaul-Spiti’s Udaipur, 12 labourers were washed in flash floods around 8 pm on Tuesday, Mokhta said. Seven bodies were recovered, two rescued with injuries and three are still missing, he added.

Four of the dead are from Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi while one is from Reasi of Jammu and Kashmir. Two bodies are yet to be identified.

The dead have been identified as Sher Singh (62), Mehar Chand (50), Nirath Ram (42) and Room Singh (41), all from Mandi; and Mohamed Slaim of Kunderdhan in Reasi, J-K.

Lahaul-Spiti Deputy Commissioner Neeraj Kumar told PTI that a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had been requisitioned for rescuing the labourers trapped under the debris of the landslide. 

However, the NDRF team coming by road is yet to reach the spot. According to latest reports, it has just crossed Kullu.

In Chamba, a helper on an earth-moving machine, Nikku of Salooni, was washed away in a flash flood. Sunil Kumar of the district died after he suddenly fell from a cliff. 

In Kullu, 26-year-old Poonam and her four-year-old son Nikunj were swept away in the Brahamganga, a tributary of the Parvati river, near Manikaran around 6.15 am on Wednesday due to a sudden surge in the water level, Mokhta said. 

Another woman, Dineeta, a tourist from Delhi, and hydro project official Vijender were also swept away in flash floods, he added. 

In Lahaul-Spiti, several roads have been blocked and around 60 vehicles are stranded due to multiple landslides, he said. 

Many roads in parts of the state have been blocked due to landslides.

A car was damaged in a landslide at Vikas Nagar in Shimla city, he said. 

Since yesterday, the road leading to Udaipur from Keylong side, Manali-Leh highway and Gramphu - Kaza highway are blocked for vehicular movement at several locations due to flash floods, landslides and heavy inflow of water from rivulets. Officials said that traffic movement has been impacted in all of Lahaul Spiti.

He said police and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) teams were dispatched to search for the missing people but the heavy flow of water hampered the search operation on Tuesday night. The search operation resumed on Wednesday morning.

Lahaul-Spiti Deputy Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been requisitioned for rescuing the labourers trapped under the debris of landslides.

"The NDRF team is on its way and is likely to reach the spot by afternoon," he said.

The district administration is arranging the necessary equipment at the spot for a prompt rescue operation by the NDRF, he added.

In Chamba, a JCB helper was washed away in the flash floods in Chaned tehsil, Mokhta said.

In Lahaul-Spiti, several roads have been blocked and around 60 vehicles are stranded due to multiple landslides, he said.

Many roads in various other parts of the state have been blocked due to landslides. A car was damaged in a landslide in Vikas Nagar in Shimla city, he said.

Meanwhile, heavy rains continued to lash various parts of the state. The Shimla Meteorological Centre has issued a 'red' weather warning.

Earlier on Tuesday, several people were evacuated from Lahaul-Spiti's Darcha village after water levels rose in the Bhaga river following a heavy spell of rain, Mokhta said.

According to the Darcha police check-post, the water level in the river increased considerably due to the heavy rainfall, damaging three shops near the river bank.

People living near low-lying areas have been safely evacuated by police, Mokhta said. — PTI/TNS

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