Shimla: At least 33 people were killed in Himachal Pradesh, seven of them buried under the rubble of a temple in Shimla as rains wreaked havoc in the state, triggering landslides that blocked key roads and brought down houses, officials said on Monday.
More people are feared trapped under the debris of the Shiv temple in Shimla’s Summer Hill area. The shrine was crowded with devotees, offering prayers on an important day of the Sawan period.
This was one of the two landslides reported from the state capital which is still witnessing intense rain.
In a second landslide here, five bodies have been pulled out of the rubble in Fagli area while 17 persons rescued, Shimla SP Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi told PTI.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu earlier said nine bodies have been pulled out of the debris from a Shiv temple in the Summer Hill area that collapsed and the other site in the Fagli area where several houses were buried under mud and slush.
All schools and colleges in the state were closed on Monday. According to the state emergency operation centre, 752 roads were closed in the state because of the calamity.
The weather office predicted extremely heavy rains in nine out of 12 districts of the state, barring Kullu, Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti, on Monday and issued a yellow warning for Tuesday.
In Solan district’s Jadon village, seven members of a family were killed in a cloudburst on Sunday night.
Two houses in the district were washed away following the cloudburst. While six people were rescued, seven others were killed, a police official said.
The dead have been identified as Harnam (38), Kamal Kishore (35), Hemlata (34), Rahul (14), Neha (12), Golu (8) and Raksha (12), Superintendent of Police, Solan, Gaurav Singh said.
In Balera panchayat of the district, two children died as their makeshift house collapsed in a landslide and the body of one of them has been recovered. Another woman died in a landslide in Banal village of Ramsheher tehsil, said Deputy Commissioner of Solan Manmohan Sharma.
In Mandi district, seven members of a family, including a two-year-old, were killed in a landslide late on Sunday night in the Seghli panchayat. Three persons were rescued, Deputy Commissioner Arindam Chaudhary said.
The chief minister visited the site of the temple collapse in Shimla city’s Summer Hill area and said all efforts are being made to rescue people buried underneath the debris.
“Distressing news has emerged from Shimla, where the Shiv Mandir at Summer Hill collapsed as a result of the heavy rainfall. 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. Om Shanti,” he posted on X (formerly Twitter).
In another post on the microblogging site, he said, “Devastating rains led to a landslide near the Shiv Temple in Shimla’s Summerhill area, burying many people. Some people have died. I am present at the spot and rescue work is underway on a war footing. All possible efforts are being made to rescue the people buried under the debris.” Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are engaged in relief and rescue operations in the hill state and termed the loss of lives due to the deluge as “extremely distressing”.
Deputy Commissioner of Shimla Aditya Negi told PTI that many people were feared buried in the two landslides in Summer Hill and Fagli areas. Rescue operations are going on in full swing, the official said.
In Hamirpur district, four persons have died due to incessant rains in the district, officials said.
Hamirpur Deputy Commissioner Hemraj Bairwa said that two persons are missing. He appealed to all the residents of the district to take special precautions in view of the calamity.
One person was swept away by the flood waters while two others were rescued on Sunday night. In another incident, an elderly woman was buried alive while her son was rescued after their house collapsed due to rains, the officials said.
In Rangas area of Hamirpur, a woman was killed in a landslide, while an 80-year-old man died in a house collapse incident in Bhagatu panchayat in the district. The elderly person’s body has been recovered, the officials said.
Heavy rains battered Himachal Pradesh since Sunday, triggering landslides that blocked several roads, including the key Shimla-Chandigarh road. In total, 752 roads are blocked in the state as per the state emergency operation centre.
Kangra received 273 mm of rain since Sunday evening followed by Dharamshala 250 mm, Sundernagar 168 mm, Mandi 140 mm, Jubbarhatti 132 mm, Shimla 126 mm, Berthin 120 mm, Dhaulakaun 111 mm and Nahan 107 mm. The weather department has issued a yellow warning for heavy rains on Tuesday and predicted a wet spell in the state till August 18.