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10 dead, 13 rescued and dozens feared trapped as landslide hits Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur

Ten ambulances, four earth removers, 52 personnel of the ITBP’s 17th Battalion, 30 personnel of police and 27 NDRF personnel are carrying out the rescue operation, officials said.

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Shimla: Ten people were killed, 13 rescued and several others feared buried under debris after a landslide trapped a bus and other vehicles in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district on Wednesday, officials said.

Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur, Abid Hussain Sadiq said 10 bodies have been recovered from under the rubble so far.

He said the rescue operation is underway to locate several other people trapped under the debris.

State Disaster Management Director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta said the landslide and shooting stones occurred at Chaura village on National Highway-5 in Nigulsari area of Nichar tehsil in Kinnaur district at around noon.

One passenger vehicle, a Tata Sumo, was located under the debris and eight persons were found dead in it, he said.

The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) bus, which was on its way from Reckong Peo to Haridwar via Shimla when the accident took place, is still buried under the debris along with the passengers, Mokhta said.

A car was partially damaged, while another was fully damaged and rescue teams are trying to pull them out from the debris with the help of a crane, officials said.

A truck rolled down towards a riverside due to shooting stones and the driver’s body has been recovered, they added.

Earlier, Station House Officer of Bhawanagar said around 25 to 30 were trapped under the debris.

Among the dead are five women and a child, a state official spokesperson said.

Of the deceased, two have been identified as Rohit Kumar (25) of Kaiya village in Rampur in Shimla district and Vijay Kumar (32) of Jhol village in Sujanpur in Hamirpur district, Mokhta said.

The State Disaster Management Authority has requisitioned the NDRF from Nurpur for conducting the search and rescue operation, the SHO said.

District administration officials, search and rescue team comprising members of local police, home guards, NDRF, ITBP, Quick Response Team (Police) and Medical Team are at the incident site, he said.

Ten ambulances, four earth removers, 52 personnel of the ITBP’s 17th Battalion, 30 personnel of police and 27 NDRF personnel are carrying out the rescue operation, he added.

Earlier, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur told the state assembly that there are reports that 50-60 people were feared trapped under the debris, but the exact number was not known.

He said Union Home Minister Amit Shah has talked to him and the topmost priority as of now is to rescue those trapped under the debris and provide them with the best possible treatment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke to Thakur over the incident.

“PM @narendramodi spoke to Himachal Pradesh CM @jairamthakurbjp regarding the situation in the wake of the landslide in Kinnaur. PM assured all possible support in the ongoing rescue operations,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.

Union Home Minister Shah also spoke to Thakur to take stock of the situation arising due to the landslide

The home minister also directed the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to provide all assistance to the Himachal Pradesh government in rescue and relief operations.

Thakur also told the assembly that an Army official called him and extended help.

A helicopter is also being arranged for the rescue operation, the chief minister said.

He said the landslide occurred when there was no rainfall in the area at that time.

The officials identified the injured as Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) bus driver Mahinder Pal of Bilaspur, bus conductor Gulab Singh of Mandi, Prashant, Varun Menon (both from Una), Rajender of Hamirpur, Daulat of Kinnaur, Shorang Project driver Charan Jeet Singh of Naleenakal in Punjab’s Fatehgarh Sahib, Saveen Sharma of Nepal, Japti Devi (60) of Rampur in Shimla, Chander Gyan of Pooh in Kinnaur, Arun (33) of Rampur, Anil Kumar (19) and Kaizang Negi of Skibba in Moorang in Kinnaur.

They have been shifted to Bhawanagar community health centre (CHC), the officials added.

They said the bodies have been sent for post-mortem

Earlier in the day, Deputy Commissioner Sadiq told PTI that several vehicles, including the HRTC bus carrying over 40 passengers, were buried under the debris.

Several people have been killed in landslides in the state this monsoon season.

Earlier on July 25, nine people were killed and three others injured in multiple landslides near Batseri on Sangla-Chitkul road in Kinnaur district.

Similarly on July 27, at least eight people died, two were injured and two went missing in flash floods triggered by a cloudburst over the Tozing Nullah in Udaipur of Lahaul-Spiti district.

Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur had informed the state assembly on August 4 that a total of 218 people have died and 12 were missing in Himachal Pradesh this monsoon season.

Also read: What the Little Ice Age tells us about the devastating effects of small changes in climate


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