Himachal Pradesh: Orange alert for next 12 hours; National Highway 5 between Shimla-Kalka closed

Image Source : ANI Landslide at Sonu Bangla, between Shoghi & Tara Devi as rain batters Himachal Pradesh.

Highlights

  • National Highway 5 between Shimla-Kalka have been closed due to landslide
  • The traffic has been diverted via the Shoghi Mehli bypass, Shimla police informed
  • At least 19 people have lost their lives so far due to heavy rains, landslides in the region

Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand rains: Another landslide at Sonu Bangla, between Shoghi and Tara Devi have been reported following which the National Highway 5, between Shimla-Kalka has been blocked.

Stones are still falling actively following which traffic has been diverted via the Shoghi Mehli bypass, Shimla police informed.

Meanwhile, at least 19 people, including eight members of a family, were killed and five others went missing in incidents of landslide, flash flood and cloud burst triggered by heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh in the past 24 hours, State Disaster Management Department Director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta said on Saturday.

The maximum damage has been reported from Mandi, Kangra and Chamba districts, he said, adding that so far 36 weather-related incidents have been reported from the state.

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, he added.

In Mandi alone, 13 persons died and five went missing in flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy rainfall, Deputy Commissioner Arindam Chaudhary said.

According to IMD Director of State, Bui Lal, the next 5 days will see moderate to heavy rains. An orange alert has been issued for the next 12 hours for the entire state, yellow alert for the rest of the days till August 24.

The railway bridge over the Chakki river on the border of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh also collapsed in the calamity.

The Chief Engineer (PWD) said out of 742 roads, 407 of them restored by Saturday and 268 would be repaired by Sunday.

At a review meeting, Chief Secretary R.D. Dhiman directed the PWD to ensure that all roads are cleared at the earliest so that there is no disruption in the providing basic amenities in the affected areas.

He also directed Deputy Commissioners to ensure videography of the damage caused by heavy rainfall and to provide shelters to the affected people in the camps.

Principal Secretary Sharma said Rs 232.31 crore has been released to the districts from the State Disaster Response Fund and sufficient funds are available with all the districts to carry out the relief and rehabilitation works.

The Chief Secretary directed that the Department of Energy to issue necessary directions to Pong dam and Chamera dam authorities to keep a check on the water level of the reservoirs and to issue timely warnings in case of any eventuality.

In the worst affected Mandi district, 10 bodies were recovered — eight from Kashang village and two from Sadoha village — as rescue operation is underway for the missing people. National Disaster Response Force and SDRF personnel have been deployed in the rescue operation in the area.

The road between Mandi and Kullu towns via Kataula has been blocked since Friday night due to landslides in the area. Even landslides hampered the Chandigarh-Manali highway beyond Mandi.

State disaster management director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta told the media here that of the 22 people, 18 were evacuated safely in Hamirpur district.

The 800-metre-long railway bridge over the Chakki river in Pathankot collapsed after flash flood washed away a bridge pillar.

The narrow-gauge train service between Pathankot and Jogindernagar, commissioned by the British in 1928, was stopped last month after the bridge developed cracks. Now, the pillar has been washed away.

Bodies of eight members of a family were retrieved from the debris of their house after a four-hour-long search operation by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and police at Kashan village in Gohar development block, he added. The house collapsed in a landslide.

Expressing his grief over the loss of lives and damage to property due to heavy rains across the state, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur ordered all district administration to undertake relief and rescue operations.

“Relief and rescue operations are being carried out on a war-footing with the local administrations in the respective areas,” he said.

The government has advised tourists to check weather advisory before travelling and not to go near rivers as most of them are in spate.

The local Met office has issued heavy rainfall and thunderstorm warning in low and mid hills till August 21.

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