Southwest Monsoon covers India; two dead in Himachal Pradesh
(Photo by NARINDER NANU/AFP via Getty Images)
THE Southwest Monsoon covered India on Tuesday (13) after a delay of five days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. The Monsoon usually covers the country on July 8.
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.
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. They are clearing the muck and the debris,” said Jindal.
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 (12) 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.
Monsoon reaches Delhi
The monsoon covered its last outposts – the desert town of Jaisalmer and Ganganagar in Rajasthan – on Monday but evaded Delhi.
It covered Barmer, another desert district in Rajasthan some two weeks before its normal onset date.
On Tuesday, several parts of the NCR received rainfall following which the IMD declared monsoon’s arrival in Delhi.
The earlier normal date for the monsoon to cover the entire country was July 15. Last year, the IMD revised its onset date for several areas.
The Monsoon hit Kerala on June 3, two days after its normal date of June 1. It rapidly covered most parts of central, west, east, northeast and south India by June 15. It also covered many parts of north India.
However, its advancement over parts of west Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and Punjab was halted due to unfavourable conditions like the westerlies, lack of any system that could push the monsoon winds further.
Last year, the Southwest Monsoon hit Kerala on June 5, four days after its normal schedule, but it covered the entire country on June 26.