Solan: The rain-ravaged hilly state of Himachal Pradesh is bracing itself for more heavy rainfall from August 21 to August 23. A yellow alert has been issued for the state on these days. The severity of the situation prompted the state government to declare the widespread damage caused by the heavy rains as a state calamity. A government notification officially designated the hill state as a “natural calamity-affected area,” acknowledging the substantial impact on human life and property due to the relentless heavy downpours.
The heavy rainfall wreaked havoc within Himachal Pradesh and had cascading effects, inundating parts of Punjab and posing a threat to around 20 villages due to the rising water levels in the Sutlej River. Despite the danger, some residents of the affected villages along the river in Fazilka district are reluctant to evacuate.
Tragedy struck as well, with the recovery of another body from the debris of a Shiv temple in Summer Hill. This unfortunate discovery has pushed the death toll in rain-battered Himachal Pradesh to 77. Notably, 23 of these casualties resulted from three major landslides in Shimla alone, occurring at the Shiva temple in Summer Hill and in Fagli and Krishnanagar. Responding to the dire situation, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu announced that the Himachal Pradesh government declared the immense damage caused by the heavy rains a state calamity. An official notification to this effect was issued on Friday.
Additionally, the state is awaiting a response from the Central government regarding the possibility of declaring the disaster in Himachal Pradesh as a national calamity. The relentless heavy rains, persisting since Sunday, triggered multiple landslides across several districts, notably Shimla.
Speaking to the media, Chief Minister Sukhu highlighted that robust rescue operations are underway. The state government is actively striving to assist affected families, particularly those whose homes have been ravaged by flash floods and landslides. All these efforts are being undertaken with the state’s own resources at their disposal.