India: Himachal Pradesh battles heavy rains with 91 reported deaths, massive losses of approx $487 mn
In India's Himachal Pradesh, the recent flooding and heavy rains have resulted in a death toll of 91 people. Additionally, as many as 14 individuals are reported missing, and the state has suffered losses amounting to approximately Rs 4,000 crore ($487 million), said the State's education minister Rohit Thakur on Thursday.
The state emergency operation centre reported that as of Wednesday night, the death toll stands at 88. As per an official of the emergency operation centre, a total of 1,020 roads remain blocked, and transportation services, including bus services, have been severely disrupted.
"A total of 1,020 roads were still blocked in the state, while 2,498 transformers and 1,244 water supply schemes have been disrupted," said the official on Thursday, as reported by news agency PTI.
The meteorological office has issued a "yellow" alert for heavy rain, thunderstorms, and lightning in the region from July 13 to 17. The wet spell is expected to continue until July 19.
Monsoons in Himachal Pradesh
Since the onset of the monsoon on June 24, the Indian hill state of Himachal Pradesh has been severely affected by heavy rains, which triggered landslides and flash floods, leading to road blockages and damage to properties.
As of July 12, according to the emergency centre, the state has incurred a total loss of Rs 1,312 crore, and further estimates of losses are being reported.
As per the PTI report, rescue workers have successfully evacuated 256 tourists who were stranded at Chandertal in the Lahaul and Spiti district for five days due to heavy snowfall blocking the roads.
This comes as authorities work towards shifting a total of 60,000 tourists to safer areas in the state over the past four days.
However, around 10,000 tourists stuck in places like Kasol, Kheerganga, and adjoining areas are refusing to trek to safety as they do not want to leave their vehicles behind.
To facilitate the evacuation, expert drivers were arranged to drive the tourist vehicles in the snowbound area. Food and medical supplies have been provided to the stranded tourists at Losar before taking them to Kaza, and the rescue operation is being supervised by the Lahaul and Spiti Deputy Commissioner.
Chandertal Lake, located in the Spiti valley, is a popular tourist destination where visitors often stay in camps. The evacuation from Chandertal has been described as a challenging task by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who conducted an aerial survey of the affected areas. The Chief Minister has appointed Revenue Minister Jagat Singh Negi, who is familiar with the harsh topography of the region, to assist in the rescue efforts.