UPDATE - At least 41 killed as heavy rains lash India's Himalayan state

UPDATE - At least 41 killed as heavy rains lash India's Himalayan state

Rivers and streams flowing high in Himachal Pradesh in monsoon season, state officials say


By Anadolu staff

ANKARA (AA) - At least 41 people have died in multiple rain-related incidents in India's mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh over the past day, disaster officials said on Monday.

"We have reports of 41 people dead and 13 missing in the last 24 hours,” Praveen Bhardwaj, a disaster management official, told Anadolu over the phone.

Bhardwaj said that casualties occurred due to landslides, flash floods, road accidents, and cloudbursts.

The death toll due to the monsoon rains, in the Himachal state since June this year has risen to 283, according to the state's disaster management department.

Earlier, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, the state's chief minister, said that seven people died in a cloudburst incident in Jadon village, in the state's Solan district.

In another incident, Singh said, a tragic landslide near a temple in the state's capital Shimla left nine people dead.

The topmost elected official added that "reports of cloudbursts and landslides have emerged from various parts of the state resulting in loss of precious lives and property."

"I urge the people to avoid areas prone to sliding and to stay away from water bodies," he added.

A video shared by Singh on X, a social media platform formerly known as Twitter, showed gushing waters flowing downwards, which also led to seven people being swept away in the Mandi district.

"Active rescue, search, and relief operations are currently in progress to address this dreadful situation," he said.

Television footage also showed several blocked roads, gushing waters, and damaged bridges and houses, as rescuers were busy with restoration work.

- ‘Extremely distressing’

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah said the loss of lives in Himachal Pradesh is "extremely distressing."

"National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams are engaged in relief and rescue operations along with the local administration," he said.

Himachal police in an advisory said the weather continues to be extremely bad, urging the public to travel only if it is extremely essential. "Heavy rains at many places in the state. Rivers and streams are in spate. Cloudbursts at many places. Roads are broken in many places," it said.

The police also said a portion of the decades-old Kalka-Shimla railway track got washed away due to heavy rains.

The India Meteorological Department said in the last 24 hours, intense rainfall has drenched various parts of India.

"Rishikesh in Uttarakhand state takes the lead with a whopping 42.00 cm of rain, followed by Kangra, Himachal Pradesh at 27.00 cm," the weather department said.

In neighboring Uttarakhand state, a college that helps students prepare for defense services examinations collapsed due to the rains in the state.

Dozens of people have died in various Indian states in the past few weeks as heavy monsoons lash several parts of the country. Monsoon, the season of heavy rain in parts of Asia, lasts from June to September.

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