Rescuers on Tuesday said seven villagers were rescued from Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district where a massive mudslide triggered by flash floods hit a remote village, damaging several houses and shops and leaving one dead. Nine people are still missing.
The seven people were rescued by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) after an eight-hour operation that started late Monday evening, officials told IANS over phone from the spot.
They are suspecting nine people might be trapped either in the mud piles that spread over a large area in the worst affected Rulehar village in the Boh panchayat of Shahpur subdivision or in raging floodwaters.
Senior Superintendent of Police Vimukt Ranjan told the media that the rescue operation is on.
“The NDRF started its operation around 10 p.m. on Monday after the road to the village was restored by the local administration,” he said.
Eleven houses were either washed away or damaged in the flash floods, he said.
The nine missing people of Rulehar village comprise four women.
Elsewhere, at least 10 parked cars, largely of tourists, were washed away and houses were partially damaged in flash floods on Monday in upper Dharamsala.
Dharamsala, nearly 250 kms from the state capital Shimla, recorded precipitation of 392 mm, the highest ever during this monsoon. The damage to property was reported in the vicinity of McLeodganj, the political, cultural and spiritual hub of the Tibetan diaspora.
Chetru, some 10 km from Dharamsala, was among the worst affected villages in Kangra where six houses, 10 shops and a bridge were washed away. A school in nearby Passu village was also damaged.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed grief over the loss of life and property due to heavy rains.
He directed the district authorities to ensure speedy relief and rescue operations in the affected areas. He urged local people and tourists to refrain from going near the river banks to avoid any untoward incident.
The Pathankot-Mandi highway has been blocked for traffic due to landslides at several places and minor damage to a bridge near Manali.
The rail traffic on the Pathankot-Jogindernagar narrow gauge line was halted due to landslides.
A total of 184 roads, including three national highways, were blocked due landslides across the state.
The national highway 5 was blocked near Jhakri in Shimla district.
The weather bureau here has forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall likely to continue in Kangra, Hamirpur, Mandi, Bilaspur, Shimla, Sirmaur and Solan districts in the next 24 hours. Thereafter, rainfall intensity may decrease.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director Surender Paul told the media that heavy rains may trigger landslides, inundations in low-lying areas, heavy runoff in rivulets and disruptions of civic amenities.