Himachal Pradesh witnessed a tragic day as torrential rainfall led to the loss of at least 50 lives on Monday. The devastation was caused by landslides, flash floods, and collapsed structures, making it the highest single-day toll of the Southwest monsoon season.
Among the fatalities, 14 individuals were tragically buried under debris due to two landslides. The landslips wreaked havoc, particularly affecting the Summer Hill area in Shimla, where a Shiv temple was engulfed by a landslide during a crowded holy month of Sawan prayer session. Additionally, another landslide in the Fagli region claimed five lives while 17 people were successfully rescued.
The casualties were spread across different districts, with 19 deaths reported in Mandi, 11 in Solan, four in Hamirpur, and one in Sirmaur. The UNESCO world heritage Shimla-Kalka railway bridge suffered significant damage, leaving a 50-meter section of tracks suspended in the air after the soil beneath was washed away.
The rain-related death toll in the state since June 24 has now reached 283, illustrating the severity of the ongoing monsoon impact. Numerous houses have been either completely or partially damaged due to landslides and flash floods, accounting for a total of 112 landslides and 58 flash floods.
The weather office issued a warning of extremely heavy rains in nine out of the state’s 12 districts on Tuesday. The Chandigarh-Manali national highway was shut down due to flash floods, causing damage to vehicles. Landslides also led to blocked alternative routes between Mandi and Kullu.
Despite the grim situation, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu assured that around half of the approximately 1,200 affected roads would be reopened by the evening. Meanwhile, water levels at the Pong Dam and Bhakra Dam surged beyond their maximum limits due to the influx of heavy rainwater.
As the state grapples with the aftermath of this tragic event, rescue efforts and recovery operations continue to provide aid to those affected by the disaster.