Rains continued to lash several places in Punjab and other states on Monday after at least 30 people were killed and dozens reported missing or feared dead over the weekend across north India. Authorities in Uttarakhand and Punjab launched rescue operations in several places to move people stranded after flood and cloudbursts as the weather department forecast more rains in the region, report agencies.
Flood alerts have been sounded in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh as rivers, including the Yamuna, swelled to dangerous levels. The Delhi government has asked people living in low-lying areas to move to safer places as the water level in the Yamuna is expected to cross the danger mark (205.33 metres), officials said.
The Yamuna was flowing at 203.37m on Sunday evening and is expected to touch 207m on Monday as 828,000 cusecs water was released from Haryana’s Hathini Kund barrage at 6pm, an official said. Majority of the damage was reported from the two worst-hit states — Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand — as heavy rains remained unabated through the Himalayan belt. Hundreds were stranded after incessant rainfall triggered landslides, snapped road links, led to shutting down of hydropower projects and release of excess water from dams in the region.
As of Sunday evening, rain-related incidents had claimed at least 23 lives in Himachal Pradesh, four in Uttarakhand while dozens were reported injured. In Punjab’s Aol village, three members of a family were killed when the roof of their house collapsed, police said. Two people were airlifted from Arakot of Uttarkashi’s Mori tehsil and brought to Sahasradhara helipad in Dehradun following a cloudburst in the area, news agency Asian News International reported on Monday. They are being shifted to Doon Hospital, it said. Two helicopters were sent to Arakot earlier with communication equipment and ropes and three medical teams have also reached Arakot.
At least 10 people were reported missing as cloudbursts wreaked havoc in several villages, damaging several houses in Arakot, Makuri and Tikochi villages in Uttarkashi district, the worst-hit region in the state. Hundreds have been evacuated to higher reaches, state officials said adding that roads were damaged at many places, hampering rescue efforts.
Indian Army and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) personnel launched a rescue operation in Punjab’s Jalandhar district on Monday after major breaches were reported on the Satluj River at four places in Bholewal, Meowal and other villages under Philluar sub-division. As per the initial reports, more than 20 people are still trapped even as NDRF teams rescued four people from Nawan Khera village.
Jalandhar’s deputy commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma has asked people in at least 13 villages of Phillaur district to be evacuated. Officials said the situation is under control in Shahkot sub-division of Jalandhar district, where around 63 villages were put on high alert. Sharma requested residents of Shahkot to move to safer places as around 2.4 lakh cusec of water from the Sutlej is likely to hit the area during the day.
The situation also remained under control in the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district, where more than 65 villages were put on high alert. Heavy rainfall in Jalandhar lead to waterlogging in several places across the city. The India Meteorological Department has warned heavy rainfall likely at isolated places across Punjab.
Hundreds of tourists were also left stranded in Himachal Pradesh’s tribal Lahaul and Spiti district after a freak snowfall on Sunday cut off roads in the region, officials said. They said rescuers were on their way to Chandratal situated at an altitude of about 4,300metres or 14,100ft in the Himalayas. The India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) office in Himachal Pradesh said on Sunday that the state received the highest ever rainfall for a 24-hour period since records began almost 70 years ago.
“The state as a whole received 102.5mm and this was 1,065% more than normal,” IMD said in a statement. In Uttar Pradesh, several rivers, including Ganga, Yamuna and Ghaghra, are in spate. The Ganga is flowing above the danger mark in Badaun, Garhmukteshwar, Naraura and Farrukhabad. Of the 15 wettest places in the world in the past 24 hours, 13 were in India, according to global weather monitoring website El Dorado Weather. The world’s wettest place was Diamond Harbour in West Bengal, which received 220mm of rainfall in the past 24 hours.
Vellore with 188mm rain was ranked second, Jamshedpur third with 172mm, Shimla seventh with 146mm and Chandigarh was 11th in the global ranking with 121mm of rain. As of August 15, a total of 1,058 persons have died due to rain-related incidents during the monsoon season that started on June 1 with one-fourth of the deaths reported from Maharashtra.