26 Jun 2023

Six dead in Himachal floods; hundreds of commuters stranded

Shimla: Six people have died and around 10 people have been injured in heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh that triggered landslides and flash floods in several places in the state, according to official estimates.

Onkar Chand Sharma, Principal Secretary, Disaster Management, Himachal Pradesh today said, "Six people have died till now and around 10 people are injured. A total of 303 animals have died. The complete report is still awaited."

"The loss due to rain is expected to be Rs 3 crore. Meanwhile, 124 roads have been damaged which includes two national highways," the senior disaster management official said.

Long queues of vehicles seen

Hundreds of commuters were stranded near Aut in Himachal Pradesh's Mandi district as the Chandigarh-Manali highway was blocked following flash floods and landslides, officials said.

Long queues of vehicles were seen and aerial shots showed vehicles moving at a snail's pace or at standstill further ahead.

Flash floods were witnessed in Khotinallah near Aut on the Pandoh-Kullu stretch due to a heavy downpour and the commuters have been stranded since Sunday evening.

Explosives being used to blast boulders blocking roads

Officials of the Mandi administration said restoration work is underway and explosives are being used to blast heavy boulders blocking roads on the stretch.

National Highway-21, which connects Chandigarh with Manali, is expected to reopen for traffic in seven-eight hours, officials said.

The commuters have been advised not to move towards Mandi until the road is opened, they added.

Struck since last evening, says stranded commuter

"We have been struck since last evening as the road is closed leading to a traffic jam and a large number of vehicles are stranded on both sides of the roads at Aut and six mile," said Prashant, one of the stranded commuters who was returning to Mandi town from Chandigarh.

Moderate to heavy rains have also lashed several parts of Kangra, Mandi and Sirmaur districts.

Dharamshala in Kangra was the wettest with 106.6 mm of rain followed by Kataula 74.5 mm, Gohar 67 mm, Mandi 56.4 mm, Poanta Sahib 43 mm and Palampur 32.2 mm.

The local MeT office has issued an alert for heavy rain, thunderstorm and lightning at isolated places on June 27 and 28 and thunderstorms coupled with lightning from June 27-29.

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