Monday, July 22, 2024

Snowfall hampers rescue operation, 250 stranded in Himachal high slopes

Over 250 tourists have been stationed in nearby places in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul-Spiti district amid snowfall in the region after torrential rains hampered the clearing of massive landslides that snapped road links, rescuers said on Monday.

Nearly 200 were evacuated on Sunday from the glacial-fed Chandertal or moon lake area in Spiti Valley after being stranded for two days. They have been stationed in hotels and government accommodations by the local administration.

Likewise, the motorists, comprising tourists and locals in two state-roadways buses, have been stuck after a flashflood in the Pagal nullah near Sissu village in the Lahaul Valley. The flashflood has blocked the Manali-Leh highway.

“Our teams are in regular contact with most of the stranded tourists in Chandertal and Sissu areas. The local administration has provided them accommodation in nearby places,” Additional Director General of Police Abhishek Trivedi told IANS.

He said the local police have made arrangements for the tourists to talk to their family members as the mobile network connectivity was hampered with torrential rains.

“All the tourists are safe. They will be evacuated if the road links are reopened with the clearing of landslides. Right now, the area is witnessing snowfall. If the weather permits, they might be airlifted,” Trivedi said.

He added that Superintendent of Police Mayank Chaudhary was on the spot at the Chandertal to supervise the relief and rescue operation.

Officials said the snow and landslide clearing operation by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) would restart once the weather becomes clear.

The Chandertal lake — a crescent-shaped basin surrounded by the Himalayas — is located at an elevation of 14,100 ft. The lake is accessible only during the summer. In winter, it remains frozen.



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