The popular tourist destinations of Manali and Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, India, are currently facing adverse weather conditions and a heightened risk of landslides. The state’s Meteorological Department has issued a yellow alert, indicating heavy rainfall and thunderstorms, which could potentially lead to flash floods. In recent days, these regions have already witnessed severe landslides, causing casualties and significant damage. This article aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the current situation, exploring the factors contributing to the landslides and offering essential advice to travelers planning a visit to Manali and Shimla.
Landslide Incidents and Emergency Response:
The recent landslides in Himachal Pradesh have had severe consequences, including loss of life and infrastructure damage. The Mandi-Kullu national highway was temporarily closed, leaving over 200 people, both tourists and locals, stranded near Baggi Bridge on Mandi Prashar Road. Additionally, vehicles were washed away in Mahol of Kullu, further highlighting the dangers of the situation. Theog in Shimla, which connects to the popular tourist destinations of Narkanda, also experienced blockades on the national highway. As confirmed by Onkar Sharma, the principal secretary, six people lost their lives, and approximately 300 domesticated animals were injured in these incidents.
Causes of Landslides:
The increase in landslides along the national highways leading to Manali and Shimla can be attributed to various factors, primarily related to human activities. Over the past decade, extensive construction work, road repairs, and the widening of existing roads have involved cutting the adjacent hillsides, disturbing the natural balance and stability of the terrain. Such modifications to the landscape have significantly contributed to the vulnerability of these regions to landslides. As a result, the pristine natural beauty and safety of the area have been compromised.
Impact on Himachal Pradesh and Warning Alerts:
Himachal Pradesh has witnessed substantial losses due to the recent landslides and heavy rainfall, with damages amounting to over Rs 75 lakh in just 24 hours. The Sarkaghat tehsil in Mandi has recorded the highest precipitation in the state. In response to the ongoing situation, a yellow alert has been issued by the Meteorological Department for Himachal Pradesh. Travelers planning to visit the region must take this alert seriously, as the risk of further landslides, heavy rainfall, and thunderstorms remains high.
Travel Advisory and Precautionary Measures:
Considering the current conditions, it is strongly advised to avoid traveling to Manali and Shimla in the next few days. The safety and well-being of visitors should be the utmost priority. However, for those who still choose to travel, it is essential to take several precautionary measures. Stay updated on weather forecasts and heed any official warnings or advisories issued by the local authorities. Additionally, choose alternative routes if available and exercise extreme caution while driving, particularly in hilly areas prone to landslides.
The recent landslides in Manali and Shimla have raised concerns about the safety of tourists and locals alike. The increased construction activities and road modifications have significantly contributed to the vulnerability of these regions to landslides. Travelers planning a visit to Manali and Shimla must exercise caution, as the Met Department has issued a yellow alert for heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. By staying informed, taking necessary precautions, and respecting the warnings, visitors can ensure their safety and contribute to the preservation of these beautiful destinations.