NEW DELHI (Reuters) – At least two people were dead and 10 missing after heavy rains in a hilly northern Indian state triggered landslides and flash floods that destroyed homes, damaged roads and swept away cars, a senior government official said on Tuesday.
About 50 workers from the National Disaster Response Force and local responders have been deployed to look for survivors in the hard-hit Boh valley in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, said Nipun Jindal, the district’s deputy commissioner.
“Rescue work there is ongoing,” Jindal told Reuters via telephone. “They are clearing the muck and the debris.”
The fast-moving flood waters ripped away buildings’ foundations and threatened to wash away roads. Residents gathered outside in the rain, hauling their belongings away from the flooding.
With further rains expected, Jindal said that district authorities were on high alert, and that tourists had been told to either postpone visits or to remain where they are if already in Kangra.
Straddling the Himalayan foothills, Kangra is home to the Tibetan government in exile based in the city of Dharamshala and is a popular tourist destination.
Television footage from Monday’s flooding showed swirling brown waters flowing through narrow streets at a settlement near Dharamshala, sweeping away a large car that was caught in the torrent. In another area, flood waters had damaged several homes abutting a stream, forcing residents out on the streets.
In recent weeks, thousands of tourists have thronged to hillside destinations in northern India, including Dharamshala, prompting warnings from authorities to maintain COVID-19 precautions after a catastrophic second wave of infections in the country.
(Reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal. Editing by Gerry Doyle)