Heavy rainfall wreaks havoc in an Indian state, resulting in nearly 50 death
In the last 24 hours, nearly 50 individuals have lost their lives due to rain-related incidents in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
One of the most tragic occurrences involved the collapse of a temple in Shimla, the state’s capital, resulting in the unfortunate death of at least nine individuals.
There are concerns that additional people might still be trapped beneath the debris.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu reported that heavy rainfall triggered landslides and flash floods in the hilly region. The aftermath of these events has led to the closure of numerous roads and the destruction of sections of the Kalka-Shimla railway.
Mr. Sukhu shared information on social media about a flash flood and cloudburst that affected other parts of the state, claiming the lives of 14 people.
He also posted a distressing video from Mandi, showing a powerful torrent of water resembling a river flowing downhill over main roads and houses. This video depicted the dire situation as seven individuals were swept away by the force of the water.
Himachal Pradesh is a popular tourist destination, particularly Shimla, due to its cool climate and picturesque landscapes. However, the state has been grappling with heavy rainfall during the monsoon season, leading to devastating floods, landslides, and cloudbursts that exacerbate the damage.
While various factors contribute to flooding, the warming of the atmosphere caused by climate change enhances the likelihood of extreme rainfall events.
The world has already warmed by about 1.1C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.
Videos shared on social media over the past few days show vehicles and buildings being swept away by gushing rivers, trees falling on cars, and tourists stranded due to road closures.
Mr. Sukhu has appealed to people to stay indoors and not go near rivers.
Incessant rains have also been battering the neighboring state of Uttarakhand for the past couple of days, where officials fear several people have been buried in landslides.
The hill state is home to many revered Hindu shrines and sees a large number of tourists around the year.
On Monday, officials said that the Char Dham Yatra – a pilgrimage to the four holiest sites for Hindus in the state – has been suspended for two days due to the rains.
Videos shared on social media showed huge boulders blocking the path to the Kedarnath temple, which is part of the Yatra.