LANSDOWNE: Six people, including three Nepalese nationals and a tourist from Kanpur, were killed in separate landslide incidents in Uttarakhand, which has been lashed by heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours.
In the most severe rain-related mishap on Monday, three people – 2 women and a child — from Nepal were killed in Pauri district following a landslide in Lansdowne at the site of an under-construction hotel, according to the State Emergency Operation Centre. The deceased have been identified as Samuna (50), Sapna (40) and Abisa (4).
In another incident in Rudraprayag district, a 27-year-old man from Kanpur, Sudhir Awasthi, died after being hit by a boulder near Sangam market in Rudraprayag. Two deaths were reported from Champawat district where a 48-year-old woman and her 17-year-old son were buried alive in their home after a landslide.
Meanwhile, Nainital was cut off from the rest of the state on Monday after landslides blocked all three highways to the hill town, leaving many tourists stranded on the roads and in hotels. According to the district administration, many people travelling to and from Nainital were stranded for several hours on the routes. Hordes of tourists had reached Nainital over the Dussehra long weekend and many have been left stranded. The torrential rains also resulted in an abrupt rise in water level at the Naini Lake on Monday.
Gangotri and Yamunotri national highways and several other ancillary roads in Garhwal and Kumaon also remained blocked on Monday due to landslides.
All trekking activities and the Char Dham yatra remained suspended.
Due to prediction of heavy to very heavy rainfall over next 48 hours, the state government had from Sunday onwards halted pilgrims on the Char Dham Yatra route and appealed to people to remain where they were and not travel in view of possibility of landslides.
In Champawat, police had to rescue 200 pilgrims on their way to Purnagiri temple who were stranded following rain and landslides. A public advisory has also been issued to not trek to the Purnagiri temple for the next two-three days.
CM Pushkar Singh Dhami tweeted that the home minister Amit Shah has assured all help from the central government to deal with the damage. Dhami also visited the disaster management control room at the secretariat and reviewed the situation. District magistrate of Rudraprayag Manuj Goyal informed the CM that there were 6,000 pilgrims in Kedarnath on Sunday out of which 4,000 have returned and around 2,000 are at safe locations.
According to the Met office, Uttarakhand received 36.7mm of rain compared to the average of 2.4mm, registering an increase of 1400% in the past 24 hours.