Multi-storeyed houses have crumbled in northern India after a landslide struck a hilly region amid widespread rainfall that has wreacked havoc there in the last few weeks.
The crumbling of the buildings was filmed on Thursday morning in a commercial area of Anni, a town in the Kullu district of the Himachal Pradesh state that lies along the Himalayan range.
Initial reports said there was no loss of life because the buildings were evacuated a few days ago due to the increase in risk seen from the heavy rain and thunderstorms in the area.
Emergency response teams such as the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Himachal Pradesh State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), have been deployed to rescue those feared trapped in the landslide.
Video shared by local media outlets showed eight to nine multi-storeyed buildings standing at a slope of a hill starting to crumble one by one and turning into rubble after a landslide strikes.
“Disturbing visuals emerge from Anni, Kullu, depicting a massive commercial building collapsing amidst a devastating landslide,” Himachal Pradesh chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said on X, formerly Twitter.
“It’s noteworthy that the administration had identified the risk and successfully evacuated the building two days ago.”
Disturbing visuals emerge from Anni, Kullu, depicting a massive commercial building collapsing amidst a devastating landslide.
It's noteworthy that the administration had identified the risk and successfully evacuated the building two days prior. pic.twitter.com/cGAf0pPtGd
— Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu (@SukhuSukhvinder) August 24, 2023
Himachal Pradesh has been battered by continuous rain, cloudbursts and landslides in the past few weeks which have killed dozens of people.
Rainfall has damaged key highways, including the Kullu-Mandi Highway, leading to hundreds of vehicles being left stranded.
“The road connecting Kullu and Mandi has been damaged. An alternative route via Pandoh has also been damaged. Hence, the movement of traffic is suspended for now,” senior Kullu police officer Sakshi Verma told news agency ANI.
Last week, a landslide in the Shimla city of Himachal killed at least 72 people as bouts of torrential rain continued to trigger landslides and floods, leaving locals scrambling for safety.
Earlier, at least 14 people were killed when a Hindu temple in the state capital collapsed, amid fears many others were still trapped beneath the rubble. A cloudburst in the state’s Solan district killed seven people earlier this month.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert for the region and warned of imminent heavy to very heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh for the next two days.
While the monsoon season often gets deadly in Himachal, with several factors such as rampant and environmentally unsuitable construction making it highly vulnerable, rainfall this year has been more disastrous.
Assessments by scientists show the rising global average temperatures due to man-made climate crisis is leading to increased atmospheric evaporation and humidity levels, prompting more frequent and sudden extreme rain.
In July, record monsoon showers killed more than 100 people over two weeks in parts of northern India, including Himachal Pradesh, which was one of the worst-hit states.
South Asia receives 70-80 per cent of its annual rainfall in the three months of monsoon starting June. However, record showers this year have left even major cities like Delhi inundated with water, with water from the Yamuna river that cuts across many northern areas in India, reaching even the outskirts of Taj Mahal in July.
Meanwhile, neighbouring Pakistan, which is still reeling from last year’s devastating floods, has also evacuated 100,000 people ahead of flood warnings.