New Delhi: Heavy rainfall in Uttarakhand for the third consecutive day has led to chaos and disaster across the hilly state, with flooded roads and buildings, destroyed bridges and overflowing water bodies leaving locals and tourists stranded – some in remote and dangerous locations.
Sixteen people have been reported dead, including labourers from Nepal who were buried alive by rubble, and people from Champawat district where a house collapsed after a landslide. The casualties have left authorities fearing for the lives of people who may be trapped under debris.
“Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Shah have been briefed on the situation. Houses, bridges etc. have been damaged and 16 people have died so far. Three (Army) helicopters to be deployed for rescue operations,” Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami was quoted by news agency ANI.
Amid the chaos, the Nainital lake has overflowed, an under-construction bridge over the Chalthi river has been washed away due to a rise in water levels, and a car with passengers inside got caught between two boulders in the middle of a swollen stream.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a red alert for Uttarakhand with a forecast of heavy to very heavy rainfall in the state on Monday.
In what will come as some relief going forward, the weather department has indicated a “significant reduction in rainfall activity over Uttarakhand from today”, predicting “isolated to scattered” showers.