More than 1,000 People Still Stranded in Himachal Pradesh
The air lifting of people stranded in the state of Himachal Pradesh by the Indian Air Force continued today, and 650 people were able to be moved to safer locations within the state. However, more than 1,000 others are still stranded in various parts, cut off from attempting to move of their own effort due to roadways being blocked by snow, or having been washed away or finding themselves under landslide debris caused by the heavy rains in the last few days. Three deaths have been reported of those stranded, one of them being a woman from Nepal who was pregnant.
Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti districts were the worst affected, having experienced heavy snowfall that rendered them inaccessible to people attempting rescue efforts from outside. The Rohtang Pass was heavily deposited with snow, and resulted in a number of tourists being stranded. Five tourists from Norway and Denmark, along with two trekkers from Germany, and a handful of American citizens of Indian origin were some of the few who had reportedly been rescued in the last couple of days.
As the weather cleared on Wednesday, efforts to get the stranded picked up the pace, and three IAF helicopters, as well as the Chief Minister’s official helicopter were deployed in the rescue activity. According to Yunus Khan, Deputy Commissioner of Kullu, “IAF choppers and the state government are on the job to airlift the stranded. Most have been brought to Manali and Kullu towns.” In what has been some of the worst weather to hit the state, the estimated damage that it has caused has crossed Rs. 2,000 crores.