Incessant rains are causing ruinous damages in the Northern Indian State of Uttarakhand, leading to an upsurge in casualties. Numerous landslides have been reported, which caused over 300 arterial roads and highways to be closed. As the district administrations struggle to clear debris and boulders from the roads, hundreds of people remain stranded at different cities.
This situation in Uttarakhand, packed with sacred sites and natural beauties, is also a major issue for the ongoing touristic season. Uttarakhand, formed as the 27th State of India in 2000, is located at the foothills of the Himalayan mountain ranges and shares internationals boundaries with China and Nepal. Believed to be a God’s Land, it is home to Char-dhams (4 abodes), four of the most sacred and revered Hindu temples, namely Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri that are nestled in the mighty mountains. Pilgrims and tourists normally congregate there at this time of the year.
Statistics of Devastation
Unrelenting rain, lashing most parts of Uttarakhand, triggered recurring landslides blocking vehicular movement. National Highways (NH) such as Rishikesh-Badrinath (NH-58) and Rishikesh-Kedarnath (NH-109) were closed due to landslides and the Rishikesh-Gangotri NH and Rishikesh-Yamunotri NH were closed following mudslides.
Despite the efforts of the authorities to rid the roads of the debris falling due to landslides, thousands of people are still affected, including those on the Char-dham and Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimages.
Four people were killed in Uttarakhand’s Tehri district when their car was hit by debris, reported Indian daily NDTV. The State Meteorological Office issued an alert of heavy to very heavy rainfall at few places.
Worsening the situation, most rivers have swelled over the danger mark and others could breach this mark anytime. Seven persons were killed in rain-related mishaps and three were washed away in Haridwar late Sunday. With electricity and drinking water supply disrupted, numerous families from affected areas have taken shelter in relief camps following the fear of their home being destroyed either by landslides or floods.
International Tag for Rain
Despite the current dramatic situation in Uttarakhand, there are other parts of India that can record heavier rain. According to the Guinness World Records, Mawsynram, Meghalaya, in North East India, with recorded rain of 11,873 mm (467 in) per annum, is named as the wettest place on the planet. Meghalaya means ‘land of the clouds’. Most of the rain occurs during the monsoon, between June and September. The second rainiest place is Cherrapunji, also in Meghalaya, with an average annual rainfall of 11,430 mm (450 in) per year, which can actually suffer drought outside the monsoon season.