Incessant rains lash U’khand; 3 of family killed in cloudburst

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Dehradun, May 20 (PTI) Three of a family were killed following a cloudburst in Uttarakhand’s Chakrata on Thursday as incessant rains for over 24 hours caused by the remnants of Cyclone Tauktae triggered a slew of landslides in hill areas, blocking several national highways.

A man and his two sisters were buried alive as their 'chani' (temporary house) caved in under the impact of a landslide caused by a cloudburst, Chakrata police station in-charge Anup Nayal said.

'Chani' is a temporary house built by hill people as they migrate to cooler places located at higher altitudes during summer.

The cloudburst occurred in Kola village near Chakrata in Dehradun district, Nayal said, adding that the bodies have been pulled out of the debris.

Rubble of landslips containing rocks and boulders has blocked the Badrinath National Highway at Lambagad and Radag bend near Badrinath besides the Joshimath-Malari border highway, officials in Gopeshwar said.

“The Yamunotri National Highway is blocked at three spots and the Gangotri Highway in Dharasu,” Uttarkashi district Disaster Management Officer Devendra Patwal said.

Efforts are on by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to clear the highways, he said.

It has been raining relentlessly in Uttarkashi district since Wednesday morning, while the higher reaches of the hills in Yamunotri and Gangotri dham have been receiving snowfall.

All departments have been kept on alert in view of heavy rains, District Magistrate Mayur Dikshit said.

The BRO, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the Public Works Department (PWD) have deployed their teams along the highways to ensure that health services at the time of COVID-19 pandemic remain unaffected, he said.

The State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and other disaster management teams are also on the alert to deal with any emergency.

Remnants of cyclone Tauktae coupled with a western disturbance have had its impact in Uttarakhand too with incessant rains battering the state for over 24 hours and causing a sharp dip in temperature at most places.

Nainital received 132 mm of rainfall followed by Mussoorie which received 103 mm and Mukteshwar recorded 85 mm of rainfall over the last 24 hours, Rohit Thapliyal, a scientist at the MeT office here said.

Dehradun received a moderate 47.7 mm of rainfall, Pantnagar 43.6 mm, Tehri 56. 8 mm and Pithoragarh 43.5 mm rainfall, he said.

Several towns recorded maximum temperatures 8-10 degrees below normal, while temperatures fell sharply in the hills where wintry conditions returned.

Upper Himalayan regions of the state, including Badrinath in Chamoli district and Kedarnath in Rudraprayag, also received snowfall.

The MeT department has warned of heavy rains in hill districts, including Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Tehri , Pauri, Bageshwar, Nainital, Almora and Champawat.

Thapliyal attributed the incessant rains which began on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday to the remnants of cyclone Tauktae following its landfall coupled with a western disturbance.

He said the intensity of rain may weaken in Garhwal region later on Thursday, but will shift to the Kumaon region which needs to remain on the alert.

The MeT department has advised people residing near rivulets and streams to remain cautious.

Commuters or people travelling on vehicles need to be careful, it said.

People are advised to be cautious and take shelter during thunderstorm and lightning activities, it added.

PTI ALM SRY

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