Family losses three generations to devastating landslide in Shimla

Landslides in Summer Hill of Himachal
Landslides and flashfloods in Himachal Pradesh (Photo - The New York Times)

A landslide occurred in Himachal Pradesh’s Shimla in the Summer Hill area, prompting a search and rescue operation. In a heart-wrenching incident, a family has been struck by an unfathomable tragedy, losing three generations to a devastating landslide. Sniffer dogs and rescue teams were at the scene.

So far, the remains of five family members have been recovered from the wreckage left by the landslide, while two individuals are still unaccounted for. The community, alongside local authorities, is fervently engaged in the search and rescue operation, hoping to find those missing.

Sunita Sharma, a relative of the victims, pleads, “I have just one request, find them and bring them to us. We will accept them dead or alive. We have been waiting for three days, clinging to the hope that they’ll come back to us.”

Sunedhi, the sister of one of the missing individuals, expresses her bewilderment, saying, “We don’t know what God did to us. It feels like a nightmare we can’t wake up from.”

Vinod, a brother of another missing family member, directs attention toward the broader issue of safety measures. He calls upon the local administration to prioritize the implementation of safeguards in vulnerable areas. “The administration should make such areas safe and have some kind of system in place to ensure that water recedes immediately,” Vinod urges, echoing the need for preventive measures to avert such catastrophes.

The tragedy has reverberated through the community, impacting not only the family directly involved but also their neighbors. Mehar Singh H Verma, a neighbor, recounts the somber reality, “We performed the last rites of four of the members yesterday. They lost their three generations, a loss that’s difficult to comprehend.”

According to SDM Shimla (Urban) Bhanu Gupta, local reports suggest there could be 21 casualties. So far, 12 bodies have been found, and the rescue operation continues with NDRF, SDRF, army, local police, and home guard teams. Any positive news about survivors will be acted upon.

Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu held a meeting to enhance disaster management, as heavy rainfall led to extensive damage. Around 400 of 1,220 blocked roads have been cleared, and efforts are on to restore electricity and water services.

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