gulf| At least 18 people were killed and another 15 to 20 were missing in landslides and other incidents yesterday prompted by severe rainfall in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh, officials said.
Eight of the deaths occurred in Shimla district, where schools will remain closed today.
In neighbouring Uttarakhand a flash flood in a local river washed away several homes in Uttarkashi district.
“At least 20 to 25 people are reported missing. Teams are searching for them,” Veer Singh, an official at the state’s disaster management centre in state capital Dehradun said.“Only one body has been found so far.”
India’s monsoon season from June to September brings rains that support the livelihood of farmers, but can bring death and destruction.
The death toll from rain-related incidents across the country from June to August 15 had reached 1,058 in the nine worst-affected states, according to federal Home Ministry data.
These are Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.
More than 18mn people have been affected by the floods across vast swathes of the country.
The western state of Maharashtra saw the highest toll, recording 245 deaths.
Most deaths were caused by drowning, wall collapses and landslides. Some lost their lives to electric shocks and snake bites, officials said.
Both Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand were placed on a red alert yesterday along with parts of Punjab and Rajasthan with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting more heavy showers over the next two days.
Landslides had blocked several roads in Himachal Pradesh, including a key highway.
Excess water released into rivers from dams in Himachal Pradesh were likely to flood lower areas in the state as well as neighbouring Punjab, an official at the state’s disaster management unit said.
Authorities in Haryana’s Hathnikund barrage said the water level in the Yamuna river had increased, posing a flood threat to New Delhi.