Around 200 stranded tourists were rescued from Lahaul-Spiti in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday following a concerted rescue effort by the Indian Air Force (IAF), Central agencies, and state forces. Among those rescued were 45 IIT-Roorkee students.
At least three IAF choppers were deployed for rescue mission. The choppers conducted multiple sorties to evacuate the stranded people to safety.
According to reports, there were around 70 foreign tourists stranded in Bharatpur. Five tourists from Kolkata were airlifted from the Lahaul side to Bhunter airport in Kullu by an IAF chopper. All are stated to be medically fit.
Stranded people had taken shelter in villages in the state.
Reports say that the people were left stranded due to snowfall which blocked the Rohtang Pass and inner roads in the area.
The IIT students were on a trekking expedition in Lahaul-Spiti when they got stranded.
“The group of 50 trekkers which includes IIT-Roorkee students are safe in Sissu area of Lahaul and Spiti,” Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur had told ANI.
According to reports, CM Thakur has sought an immediate financial assistance of Rs 200 crore from the Centre for undertaking rescue and relief operations in view of the damage caused by the heavy rain.
Heavy rains and snowfall in Himachal Pradesh on Monday claimed eight lives and hundreds, including school students, remained stranded across the state after incessant rainfall for the third consecutive day, triggering landslides and snapping over 200 road links, officials said.
Three people were washed away near Manali late on Sunday night when their vehicle fell into the swollen Beas river.
Elsewhere, two people were washed away in the Parbati river in the Manikaran valley, while one girl died near Bajaura. Both incidents occurred in Kullu, one of the worst affected districts by flash floods.
A man was drowned in a swollen rivulet near Palampur town in Kangra district, while another was killed when a building was washed away in a rivulet in Una district.
Several houses in Kullu town were swept away in flash floods as the Beas is flowing above the danger mark.
Around 1,000 school students have been moved to safer places in Holi area of Chamba. They had gathered there for the 23rd District Primary School Sports Tournament, a government spokesperson told IANS.
Likewise, over 800 people, comprising tourists and locals, have been rescued from various places in and around Lahaul Valley in Lahaul-Spiti district. The area witnessed snowfall too.
Road links to Kinnaur district and towns in Shimla district such as Narkanda, Jubbal, Kharapathar, Rohru, and Chopal have been cut-off owing to landslips, a government official told IANS.
Widespread rain and snowfall in higher altitudes brought down the mercury. Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district shivered below the freezing point, according to the Meteorological Centre. Keylong recorded its lowest temperature at minus 0.2 degree Celsius. The highest temperature was recorded in Una as 27.2 degrees Celsius, he added.
(With inputs from agencies.)