7 Feared Dead in HP Flash Floods, Cloudburst Claims 5 in J&K; Death Toll from Maharashtra Rains at 209
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Shimla/Mumbai, July 28: At least seven people are feared dead and nine reported missing in flash floods triggered by heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh, a senior disaster management official said on Wednesday. The death toll in rain-related incidents in Maharashtra rose to 209 on Tuesday with the worst-hit Raigad district alone accounting for nearly 100 fatalities.
State Disaster Management director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta said four people are feared dead in Kullu district and one person is feared dead in Chamba. Two people were killed and nine are missing in Lahaul-Spiti.
In Kullu, a 25-year-old woman, Poonam, and her four-year-old son Nikunj, were washed away in Brahamganga, a tributary of the Parvati river, near Manikaran around 6:15 am on Wednesday due to a sudden surge in the water level, he said.
In Udaipur in Lahaul, two tents of labourers and a private JCB were washed away in the flash floods triggered by a cloudburst around 8 pm on Tuesday, Mokhta said.
While one labourer was killed, another was injured. The injured labourer has been identified as Mohammad Altaaf (19) from Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
At least, nine labourers are still missing, he added.
Mokhta said police and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) teams were dispatched to search for the missing people but the heavy flow of water hampered the search operation on Tuesday night. The search operation resumed on Wednesday morning.
In Chamba, a JCB helper was washed away in the flash floods in Chaned tehsil, Mokhta said.
In Lahaul-Spiti, several roads have been blocked and around 60 vehicles are stranded due to multiple landslides, he said.
Many roads in various other parts of the state have been blocked due to landslides. A car was damaged in a landslide in Vikas Nagar in Shimla city, he added.
Meanwhile, heavy rains continued to lash various parts of the state. The Shimla Meteorological Centre has issued a 'red' weather warning.
Earlier on Tuesday, several people were evacuated from Lahaul-Spiti's Darcha village after water levels rose in the Bhaga river following a heavy spell of rain, Mokhta said.
According to the Darcha police check-post, the water level in the river increased considerably due to the heavy rainfall, damaging three shops near the river bank.
People living near low-lying areas have been safely evacuated by police, Mokhta said.
The death toll in rain-related incidents in Maharashtra rose to 209 on Tuesday with the worst-hit Raigad district alone accounting for nearly 100 fatalities, while eight persons are still missing, the state government said.
Heavy rains last week caused massive floods and landslides in large parts of the state, especially in the coastal Konkan and Western Maharashtra regions.
Out of the 209 deaths caused due to heavy rains and floods since last week, the maximum – 95 –were from Raigad district followed by 45 in Satara, 35 in Ratnagiri, 14 in Thane, seven in Kolhapur, four in Mumbai suburban, three in Pune, two each in Sindhudurg, Wardha and Akola districts, said a statement issued by the state disaster management department.
Eight people are still missing, while 52 are injured and being treated at various government as well as private hospitals, it said.
Most of the deaths in Raigad, Satara and Ratnagiri districts were caused due to landslides, while floods claimed lives in Kolhapur and Sangli. Since June 1, as many as 296 people have died in rain-related incidents in Maharashtra, the statement said.
Local officials are struggling to expedite the rescue operations chiefly because of the difficult terrain and intermittent showers that are affecting their task, said an official from the disaster management department.
Floods have also killed 58,722 domestic animals, mostly in Sangli, Kolhapur, Satara and Sindhudurg districts, the statement said.
Showers over the Sahyadri mountains, which are parts of the Western Ghats have increased water level of rivers flowing through Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur districts, forcing the administration to evacuate more people.
As many as 4,34,185 people have been evacuated so far, of which 2,11,808 are from Sangli alone, the statement said.
It may be noted that Sangli district did not receive heavy rainfall, but heavy discharge of water from the Koyna dam in Satara district resulted in Sangli city and several villages getting flooded. The dam is built on the Koyna river, a tributary of the Krishna river.
There are 308 relief camps for the evacuated people of which 216 are in Kolhapur, 43 in Sangli, 29 in Satara, 16 in Ratnagiri and four in Raigad districts.
A cloudburst swept away over half-a-dozen houses in a remote village in the Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir early Wednesday, leaving five people dead and 12 injured, officials said.
Over 25 people are still reported missing in the cloudburst which struck Honzar village in Dacchan tehsil around 4:30 am, officials said, adding a joint rescue operation by police, army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) is underway.
District Development Commissioner, Kishtwar, Ashok Kumar Sharma, told PTI, “Bodies of five persons were recovered from the cloudburst-hit village by the rescuers, while 12 others were evacuated to hospital in an injured condition so far.”
He said a total of six houses were swept away by the flash floods triggered by the cloudburst and a search and rescue operation was on when last reports were received.
The officials said floods have also been reported from Machail, Paddar and Bunjwah in the district.
Most parts of Jammu region have been receiving heavy rains for the past few days. With the prediction of more rains till July-end, authorities in Kishtwar have already asked people living along water bodies and slide-prone areas to remain vigilant.
"The meteorological department has predicted heavy rains during the coming days and water levels in rivers and drains are expected to rise, which can pose a threat to the inhabitants residing near rivers, drains, water bodies and slide-prone areas," the district administration said in an advisory issued late on Tuesday night.
A MET spokesperson said widespread intermittent rain is most likely to continue across Jammu and Kashmir till July 30.
“Heavy to very heavy rain is possible at some places and may lead to flash floods, mudslide, landslide and water logging (in low lying areas). People are advised to remain alert as water level has risen in all rivers (owing to incessant rains),” the spokesperson said, also asking people not to venture on hilly, landslide and mudslide prone areas.
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