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24 Aug, 2023 16:29

Landslide in India’s north wipes out city buildings (VIDEO)

Over 2,000 deaths have been reported across the country in the past two months as seasonal rains wreak havoc
Landslide in India’s north wipes out city buildings (VIDEO)

A video on Thursday morning showed how at least nine multi-storied buildings in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district had caved in owing to monsoon rain-triggered landslides. It happened after a red alert warning was issued by the Indian Meteorological Department of a heavy to very heavy downpour in the northern state for the next two days.

The video footage, which went viral on social media, shows several buildings on a hillside being swept away along with trees and rubble.

No lives were lost since the buildings were evacuated two days ago, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu wrote on X (formerly Twitter), saying, “the administration had identified the risk and successfully evacuated the building two days prior.”

The extent of the damage to the properties – one of which housed two banks – is being ascertained by the district authorities. The deputy commissioner of Kullu, Ashutosh Garg, said the evacuation was carried out a week ago, as the buildings were prone to collapse due to the incessant torrential downpour, the Tribune newspaper reported.

The incident occurred at a market area in Anni, located around 75km from the town of Kullu. The red alert in the state extends to the Kangra, Mandi, Shimla, Solan, and Sirmaur districts. Over 700 roads have been closed in Himachal Pradesh. Damage to public infrastructure has exceeded 8 billion rupees ($970 million) since the arrival of monsoon season on June 24, NDTV reported.

According to state government data, more than 12,000 houses were fully or partially damaged and over 110 landslides have been reported, leading to the loss of 224 lives. Another 117 people were killed in rain-related accidents and thousands have been displaced.  

In a separate incident in the state of Mizoram in India’s northeast, 23 workers were killed after a railway bridge that was under construction collapsed on Wednesday. So far, 21 bodies have been recovered and two are still missing. All the victims are from the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, including six members of a family. The Northeast Frontier Railway officials attributed the cause of the accident to the collapse of a gantry that was being launched on the railway bridge over the Kurung river. The railway authorities formed a panel to investigate the incident.

The bridge is one of 130 bridges built on a 51.3-km route, originating at Bairabi on the Assam-Mizoram border. It is part of the federal government’s capital connectivity project, which aims to link eight northeastern capitals (known for their hostile terrains) with mainland India, and has been accorded the status of ‘national importance’.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs’ latest data, over 2,000 people have lost their lives this year due to the monsoon fury across the country.

Though the dramatic scenes of cloudbursts and landslides in the north Indian hill states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have gone viral, Bihar continues to be the worst hit. One of the less developed states, it faces monsoon woes every year mainly due to snow-fed rivers in neighboring Nepal, which cause flooding in the southern plains.