HP rain fury: Death toll over past week climbs to 78
Shimla, Aug 19 (PTI) The death toll in rain-related incidents in Himachal Pradesh over the past week rose to 78 on Saturday with the recovery of one more body from the debris of a collapsed Shiv temple here, officials said.
Out of the 78 deaths since Sunday night, 24 were in the three major landslides in Shimla alone -- 17 at the Shiv temple in Summer Hill, 5 in Fagli, and 2 in Krishnanagar, Superintendent, Shimla, Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi told PTI on Saturday.
Joint operations of Army, National and State Disaster Response Force, Police and Home Guards are underway to retrieve the bodies from the landslide rubble and at least three persons are still feared buried under the temple debris, the SP said.
Drones are being used for identification of high risk zones and monitoring of sliding sites in the state capital, he added.
On Friday, the Himachal Pradesh government declared the state as a "Natural Calamity Affected Area" in view of the damage caused by heavy rains leading to loss of human life and extensive damage to property.
Since the onset of the monsoon on June 24, as many as 221 persons have died in rain-related incidents in Himachal Pradesh and over 11,600 houses got partially or completely damaged, according to the state emergency operation centre.
About 415 roads are still closed in the rain-battered state and 253 transformers and 107 water supply schemes have been disrupted.
The local MeT office has sounded a yellow warning of heavy to very heavy rains on August 20 and 21 and heavy rains on August 22 and 23. It also cautioned of moderate to high risk of flash floods in Shimla, Sirmaur and Chamba districts.
Heavy rains can result in landslides, flash floods and increase in water level in rivers and drains besides causing damage to the standing crops, fruit plants and young seedlings, the MeT warned. PTI BPL RPA