Shimla/Dehradun, August 21
The rain fury since Friday has wreaked havoc in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Odisha, leaving at least 31 people dead, 22 of them in Himachal alone, as heavy monsoon rains triggered flashfloods, landslides, and house collapses, upending normal life across large swathes of the country.
The fatalities included four each in Uttarakhand and Odisha, and one in Jharkhand.
Heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh since Friday caused landslides and flashfloods, with officials saying 22 people, including eight members of a family, died. Ten people were injured in the state which has reported 36 weather-related incidents.
As many as 743 roads, including the Manali-Chandigarh national highway at Mandi and the Shimla-Chandigath highway at Shoghi, have been blocked for traffic.
In Mandi alone, 13 people died and six went missing in flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy rainfall, Deputy Commissioner Arindam Chaudhary said. Those missing are feared dead, he said.
The Chakki bridge in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra collapsed due to heavy rains on Saturday, disrupting train services between Pathankot and Jogindernagar.
In Uttarakhand, a series of cloudbursts early Saturday killed four people, while 10 went missing as rivers breached banks, washed away bridges, and threw mud and waters inside houses, forcing evacuation of multiple villages.
As the gushing waters threatened more damage, a number of roads were blocked for traffic, while all Anganwadi centres and schools were ordered shut in the Pauri district of Uttarakhand.
Rains also pounded parts of eastern India, with Odisha—already reeling under floods in the Mahanadi river system with around 4 lakh people marooned in 500 villages – reporting four deaths, and neighbouring Jharkhand one.
Odisha braced for more damage with parts in its north receiving rains since Friday night. Prices of vegetables have shot up in the markets of Bhubaneswar with the supply chain disrupted.
Water levels in Subarnarekha, Budhabalang, Baitarani and Salandi are being monitored as Balasore, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj received heavy rain on the previous night, Odisha Water Resources Chief Engineer B K Mishra said on Saturday.
In the neighbouring Jharkhand, heavy rainfall associated with high-speed winds since Friday evening uprooted scores of trees and electricity poles, and submerged low-lying areas in many districts.
A woman died when a mud wall of her house caved in on her in West Singhbhum district on Saturday morning as the deep depression that crossed the Odisha coast on the previous evening brought incessant rainfall in several areas, an official said.
Normal life was thrown out of gear with rain disrupting power supply in many areas for long hours and causing traffic jams in major cities.
Two flights have also been cancelled till 2 pm due to bad weather on Saturday, officials at Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi told PTI.
The India Meteorological Department said isolated extremely heavy rainfall is expected over West Madhya Pradesh on Sunday and East Rajasthan on Monday.
Meanwhile, the yatra to the famous Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop Trikuta hills in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district resumed this morning on the old track after remaining temporarily suspended overnight following heavy rains.
However, the Himkoti (battery car) track which is also known as the new track, is still closed due to ongoing clearance operation, even as the helicopter service remained suspended due to bad weather, officials said.
The pilgrimage was temporarily suspended Friday evening following heavy rains in the Trikuta hills. Thousands of pilgrims were present at the shrine when it started raining heavily around 6 pm and continued till midnight.
Several videos shared on social media show flood-like situations on the Vaishno Devi track.
Back in Uttarakhand, water also entered the caves of Tapkeshwar, a famous Shiva temple on the banks of the Tons river, which was in spate, officials said.
A cloudburst occurred around 2.15 am in Sarkhet village in the Raipur area, they said, adding a bridge over the Song river near Thano got washed away while the Kempty Falls, a popular tourist spot near Mussoorie, was also flowing dangerously.
The affected people have been shifted to schools and panchayat buildings, said Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Dhanolti, Lakshmi Raj Chauhan, adding the Raipur-Kumalda road has been blocked by debris at many places.
The Rishikesh-Badrinath highway is blocked at Totaghati, the Rishikesh-Gangotri highway is blocked at Nagni and the Narendranagar-Ranipokhri road is blocked at several points, Chauhan said. PTI Rains also lashed parts of the national capital Saturday bringing much-needed relief from the heat.
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