File photo of a landslide in Himachal Pradesh


July 26, Monday: On Sunday, at least nine tourists were killed and three others seriously injured in a rockslide in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district. The tourists were on the way from Sangla to Chitkul—a popular tourist spot some 250 km from the state capital Shimla—when the boulders fell on their vehicle, killing nine on the site. The victims were mainly from Delhi-National Capital Region and Rajasthan,

Superintendent of Police S.R. Rana said the rescue operation is on, and the road has been closed for the traffic. The incident left nearly 50 vehicles stranded on the road stretch. Two of the injured have been referred to a nearby hospital. Eyewitnesses said the administration had a tough time extricating the victims from the boulders.

Rockslide is a type of landslide that refers to the downward movement of rocks and debris. While numerous causes can trigger a rockslide, the most common cause is excessive rainfall or rise in the groundwater table, leading to a built-up of shear stress within a slope.

A video of the disaster showing massive boulders sliding off the hilltop and damaging a bailey bridge and a portion of the highway has gone viral.

Inclement weather to prevail over Himachal

A combination of two cyclonic circulations is set to induce widespread rainfall with isolated, very heavy spells across Himachal Pradesh this week from July 26 to 30. Accordingly, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has placed an orange alert over Western Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand till Friday, July 30.

An orange alert signifies the possibility of very heavy rainfall and associated impacts. This is the second-highest weather warning level in India, meaning ‘be prepared’ for adverse weather events.

Heavy rains create a flash flood-like situation in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. (IANS)

Heavy rains create a flash flood-like situation in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, a couple of weeks ago


Among the two cyclonic circulations, one is located over northwest Madhya Pradesh, while another lies over Pakistan as a Western Disturbance induced trough on Monday morning. The latter brings southwesterly wind across the Western Himalayan Region on Monday to produce locally heavy rain.

The circulation over northwestern Madhya Pradesh will move northward into Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday. The combination of these two circulations will result in isolated heavy to very heavy rain across the Western Himalayan Region from Wednesday onwards. Total rainfall amount of 100-150 mm with isolated areas registering 250-300 mm remains a possibility across most parts of the region by Wednesday. While the rainfall intensity may decrease Thursday onward, moderate rain will persist through the weekend.

PM and CM express grief

Four people from Rajasthan, including three of a family hailing from Sikar, were among the nine killed in the landslide in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district on Sunday. The other deceased was Deepa Sharma, 34, from Jaipur, who was posting some beautiful pictures on her social media accounts a few hours before her sudden death.

Expressing grief over the accident, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur asked local authorities to speed up the rescue work and provide relief to the next of kin of each of those killed and injured. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh to the next kin of those who lost their lives and Rs 50,000 to those injured.

In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister Office (PMO) said, “The incidents of a rockslide in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur is extremely saddening. My heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in this. All arrangements are being made for the treatment of those injured in the accident. I wish them a speedy recovery.”

Himachal Pradesh has received 288 mm of rainfall since June 1, which is marginally less than the long-term average of 315 mm for this period. Since the last two weeks, persistent rain has triggered many landslide events across the Western Himalayan Region, including popular tourist destinations like Manali in Himachal Pradesh.

(With inputs from IANS)


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