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Shimla: ‘My 6-year-old asked: Will we die, too, papa?’

Updated on: 18 August,2023 08:01 AM IST  |  Shimla
Agencies |

Battered by three days of rain, the Himachal Pradesh capital tells a tale of destruction, with a series of landslips forcing families to pack and leave

Shimla: ‘My 6-year-old asked: Will we die, too, papa?’

Army and NDRF personnel carry out rescue work at the landslide site, in Shimla, on Thursday. Pic/PTI

“Will we also die, will our house break, too, papa,” my six-year-old daughter asked as the horror of the devastating rains here hit home on Independence Day. Giving a first-person account of devastation in Shimla, the PTI reporter stated: Our family had rushed out after hearing a deafening roar. There were screams, as the side of a hill, barely 100 metres from our home, slid, burying many houses and a slaughterhouse.

Our daughter was already upset at the landslide in Krishna Nagar. Two young girls from her school had died on Monday when a landslip buried a Shiv temple. But for us, the landslide nearer home was more heartbreaking.  Minutes later, when I reached the spot, people who had lost their homes were howling. A woman ran around barefoot, searching for her husband. “I can see a hand,” a man said.

Shaken by the landslide, people in adjoining homes that were still standing began to leave, carrying away whatever they could. A small girl held a bag as she sobbed. A man carried his old mother on his shoulders. I, too, left to file this report, on my phone. Later, two bodies were pulled out of the rubble. One of them, a police officer told me, had been decapitated.

Battered by three days of rain, the Himachal Pradesh capital tells a tale of destruction. There have been other smaller landslips. The city is dotted with fallen trees and snapped power lines. Cracks have appeared on roads and several buildings are at risk. Cart Road, which encircles Shimla, is blocked due to two landslides, which it is feared might lead to the collapse of some endangered buildings. On Mall Road, tourists are missing.

Search on for 8 more at temple site

The death toll in rain-battered Himachal Pradesh rose to 74 as another body was pulled out of the rubble of a Shiva temple here and two more people killed in Chamba district, officials said on Thursday. The temple was crowded with devotees on Monday when the landslide struck. Eight people are still feared buried in the debris. Rescue operations are underway in Summer Hill and Krishna Nagar. Meanwhile, Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday urged the Centre to immediately release an interim relief package for calamity-hit Himachal Pradesh, saying partisan politics has no place in such a situation. He also requested the Supreme Court to take urgent note of the matter.

No of rain-related deaths this week

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