Rains, Flash Floods Claim Eight Lives In North India
Incessant showers triggered flash floods and landslides in the hill states of northern India with at least eight people killed today in rain-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.
A 'red alert' was issued in Punjab where educational institutes have been ordered to remain closed tomorrow. Schools remained closed in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir and in most places of Himachal Pradesh.
Heavy rains led to landslides which blocked the roads to the holy sites of Badrinath, Kedarnath and Yamunotri, affecting the Chardham Yatra, while traffic snarled in the national capital due to water-logging following heavy rains.
The Punjab government has asked district authorities to maintain vigil to avert any untoward situation due to heavy rains, an official said.
Punjab has been witnessing widespread rain for the last two days and the downpour continued today, prompting state authorities to review preparations to tackle flood-like situations. Incessant rains in Punjab and Haryana could cause damage to kharif crops and dip in their yield, farm experts said.
In Haryana's Ambala, a 45-year-old man died when the roof of his home collapsed due to heavy rains, police said.
Torrential rains triggered flash floods in Himachal Pradesh, sweeping away a man and a girl in Kangra and Kullu districts, respectively. A "high alert" has been sounded for Kullu district.
Several houses were also swept away in flash floods as the Beas is flowing at a dangerous level, Himachal Pradesh Forest Minister Govind Singh Thakur said, cautioning people against going near rivers and nullahs. An Indian Air Force team had rescued, with the help of a chopper, 21 people stranded due to flash floods at Dobi in Kullu district in the last 48 hours.
BJP MP from Hamirpur, Anurag Thakur, said: "So far, 126 roads have been affected by landslides triggered by rains and news of the loss of lives are pouring in from many places."
People residing in low-lying areas, especially in Kangra, Chamba, Kullu and Mandi districts, are being evacuated, officials said.
In Chamba, the Ravi is flowing at a dangerous level and people are being evacuated from low-lying areas by the administration since Sunday, Superintendent of Police Monica Bhutunguru said.
Issuing a flood warning, the Bhakra Beas Management Board said excess water from the Pong Dam would be released due to high-pattern inflows in the Pong reservoir due to heavy rain in catchment areas.
In Uttarakhand, most of the places, including state capital Dehradun, received showers with around 45 rural roads blocked in these districts, the state emergency operation centre said.
Heavy rains lashed several parts of the national capital, causing water-logging and traffic snarls on major intersections in the city.
In Jammu and Kashmir, five members of a family, including three minors, were killed today when their house was buried under debris from a landslide in Doda district. Nearly 29 people stranded in Kathua district after flash floods were rescued today. Doda and other parts of Jammu have been lashed by incessant rain in the past two days.
With the improvement in weather, authorities this morning opened the 270-kilometre-long Jammu-Srinagar national highway for traffic. Multiple landslides and shooting stones from a hillock along the highway between Ramban and Udhampur districts had blocked the arterial road since Sunday morning.
According to the meteorological department, heavy to very heavy rain is expected at isolated places in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, western Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh.