Heavy thunderstorm and rains, landslides kill 18 in India

Torrential rains in India’s Himalayas have triggered landslides over the weekend, killing at least 18 people, with dozens trapped or missing.

TV footage from India’s Himachal Pradesh state showed houses flattened by landslide, buses and cars hanging on the edge of precipices after roads gave way, and hundreds of people at rescue sites as emergency workers struggled to clear debris.

“Again, tragedy has befallen Himachal Pradesh, with continuous rainfall over the past 48 hours,” the state’s chief minister, Sukhvinder Singh, said in a post on the messaging platform, X, formerly Twitter.

“Reports of cloudbursts and landslides have emerged from various parts of the state resulting in loss of precious lives and property.”

Reports of more casualties kept coming in on Monday as the chief minister inspected some of the damage.

In one of the deadliest incidents, a temple collapsed in the state capital, Shimla, with rescuers pulling out at least nine bodies, the chief minister said.

Schools and other educational institutes had been ordered to close and people in danger were being moved to safety in shelters, state officials said.

Parts of the state had received as much as 273 mm (10.75 inches) of rain in 24 hours, the India Meteorological Department said.

A recent Reuters report says unusually heavy rain and melting glaciers have brought deadly flash floods to the mountains of India and neighbouring Pakistan and Nepal over the past year or two with government officials increasingly blaming climate change.

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