Shimla/New Delhi: With 18 more deaths today, the three days of continuous heavy rainfall has reportedly so far claimed 72 lives in Himachal Pradesh and paralysed normal life, snapping air, rail, and road communication.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a red alert in Himachal Pradesh today and advised people to avoid areas prone to waterlogging and stay away from vulnerable structures. It also issued an “Orange alert” to Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, and Rajasthan today. According to the Weather Office, Uttarakhand is also likely to get Heavy to very heavy rainfall (115.6 to 204.4 mm) from July 10 to July 12, while heavy to very heavy rainfall, including extremely heavy downpours exceeding 204.4 mm, was expected in parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim on July 11 and 12. Isolated extremely heavy rainfall is also very likely over Meghalaya on July 10 and 12, and Sub- Himalayan West Bengal on July 11 and 12, 2023. Light/moderate fairly widespread to widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall is very likely over, East Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh during the next 5 days.
Delhi recorded 107.3 mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 298.3 mm this month so far—more than the normal of 209.7 mm for the entire month, and caused widespread water logging in the National Capital Region.
In New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to senior Ministers and officials and took stock of the situation in the wake of excessive rainfall in parts of India. Local administrations, National Disaster Response Force, and State Disaster Response Force teams are working to ensure the well-being of those affected,” the PMO tweeted.
In Himachal Pradesh, relief and rescue operation has been hit owing to the inclement weather, and there seems no respite as of now with the India Meteorological Department issuing a red alert for Kangra, Kullu, Mandi, Shimla, Sirmaur, Una, Bilaspur, Solan, and Hamirpur districts of the state. About 300 to 350 mm of rainfall has been recorded in the last 72 hours in the state. The state administration has cancelled the leave of officials and ordered them to assist in relief and restoration works.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhivinder Singh Sukhu said around Rs 4000 crore worth of property has been damaged and washed in the rainfall. Most of the link and major roads, national highways, rail, air, water supply and power services have been disrupted by flash floods, landslides, and the obstructions created by falling heavy boulders, reports suggest. In all 838 major roads, including four National Highways, are blocked in the state including the National Highway connecting Shimla and Kinnaur, which is blocked in many places. Train services on the Kalka-Shimla Railway line remain suspended after a rail car derailed on the evening of July 9, 2023. Around 4686 distribution transformers and 785 water supply schemes are affected. Five bridges were washed down in the flash floods. Agriculture and horticulture has reportedly suffered Rs 70 crore loss in three days.
District administrations of Shimla, Kullu, and Kinnaur have warned people and migrant workers to remain away from the Sutlej and Beas rivers. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel have been trying to evacuate tourists and migrant workers who are stranded on either bank of the Sutlej and Beas rivers. Yesterday the NDRF rescued nine persons in Kullu and six persons in the Nagwayin area of Mandi.
The Sutlej River is also posing danger to the houses built on its banks. The discharge of water from dams to desilt hydro projects has also turned the situation grim. The floodgates of Baspa, Wangto and Nathpa Dams have been opened and power generation is shut down in 3414 power projects.
Meanwhile, all major rivers are flowing above the danger mark in Haryana, Punjab, NCR Delhi, and Rajasthan. The Yamuna River was currently flowing 204.6 metres in Delhi and is expected to reach 205.5 metres tomorrow morning. “If the Yamuna river level crosses 206 metres, we will start the evacuation,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said today.
Compelled by the heavy rainfall, Haryana has released over one lakh cusecs of water into the Yamuna River from the Hathnikund barrage near Delhi.
– global bihari bureau