A total of 16 casualties have been reported across two distinct incidents attributed to heavy rainfall in India’s Himachal Pradesh, in a span of 24 hours, the state’s chief minister has confirmed.
The Solan district witnessed a tragic cloudburst incident last night (13), claiming the lives of seven people.
Additionally, a devastating landslide at a Shiv Temple in the Summer Hill region of Shimla city resulted in the unfortunate death of nine others.
This grim series of events has contributed to a total death toll of 21 within the past two days.
Chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu expressed his condolences over the deaths and said efforts are underway to rescue the people trapped under the debris of the collapsed temple.
“As of now, nine bodies have been retrieved. The local administration is diligently working to clear the debris in order to rescue individuals who may still be trapped,” the Himachal Pradesh chief minister said in a post on Twitter.
Sukhu along with state minister Vikramaditya Singh also visited the site of the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
“Twenty to 25 people are trapped under debris here. A total of 21 people has died in the last 24 hours in the state. I appeal to people to stay indoors, to not venture near rivers and landslide-prone areas. Restoration work will begin as soon as rain stops,” the chief minister said.
Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi, Superintendent of Police (SP) Shimla earlier said that a landslide had struck the temple and there was threat to nearby buildings too.
He said that several people are currently stranded and more details is awaited.
Personnel of the SDRF, NDRF and the army are present on the spot to carry out operations to rescue those who are stranded.
“I have cancelled my pre-scheduled event in Mandi. August 15 Independence Day programme will go on as usual but our priority is to save lives,” Sukhu said.
According to Singh, some bodies have been retrieved from under the debris of the temple in Summer Hill but ten to 15 people are still buried under the debris. “All efforts are being made to safely rescue people,” he said.
He added that 12-15 people have died in Mandi district of the state due to extreme weather.
Earlier, seven people were killed in an incident of cloudburst reported at Jadon village of Kandaghat subdivision in Solan district of the state according to Siddhartha Acharya, sub divisional magistrate (SDM) Kandaghat.
Two houses and one cowshed also got washed away in the incident.
“Devastated to hear about the loss of 7 precious lives in the tragic cloudburst incident at village Jadon, Dhawla Sub Tehsil in Solan district heartfelt condolences go out to the grieving families. We share in your pain and sorrow during this difficult time. We have directed the authorities to ensure all possible assistance and support to the affected families during this trying period,” Sukhu posted on Twitter.
Incessant showers in Himachal Pradesh over the past 24 hours have triggered landslides, blocking several roads, including the Shimla-Chandigarh road which was closed for buses and trucks.
Under the directive of the chief minister, the education secretary has issued a notification instructing the closure of all government, private schools, and colleges on August 14.
The chief minister has instructed the chief secretary, home secretary as well as all district collectors to keep a close watch on the situation created due to heavy rains.
The administrative staff should be alert and maintain smooth arrangements for roads, electricity, and water, he said.