Floods and landslides have particularly affected the State of Himachal Pradesh. In Delhi, the level of the Yamuna River is also a cause for concern. The Bishop of Simla-Chandigarh explained to : “The poor are the most affected. I have asked all the communities to give hospitality and food to the displaced people and to make the Catholic clinics available for the wounded”.
Delhi () – Nearly 100 people have died from floods in northern India, which in the last three days have mainly affected the state of Himachal Pradesh. For a week the monsoons have been causing damage to the infrastructure and several rivers have overflowed. In Delhi, the Yamuna exceeded 207 meters this morning and the local authorities have called an emergency meeting.
“We have sent a message to all our institutions in places where there are floods and disasters to open their doors and receive the people who have been left homeless. I have also told them that, in addition to accommodation, if people do not have food, they have to help them,” Bishop Ignatius Mascarenhas, Bishop of Simla-Chandigarh, in whose jurisdiction Himachal Pradesh is located, told .
Some 300 people, mostly tourists, remain stranded on the mountain peaks of Himachal Pradesh due to incessant rain and snowfall. In Punjab and Haryana, 15 people lost their lives even after the rains subsided. In neighboring Uttarakhand, nine pilgrims have been killed and 13 others injured in avalanches triggered by falling rocks from mountains in the past 24 hours.
“We have asked our clinics to provide medicines to the poor and the suffering, because the wounded are also arriving in the surroundings of Chandigarh”, continues Msgr. Mascarenhas. “I have personally spoken with all our institutions that are in the hills to find out their conditions and how they are dealing with the situation. So far, it does not appear that there has been significant damage to our buildings, except in one case in Solan, where a landslide destroyed part of the chancel.”
Residents of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi have shared terrifying images of floating vehicles, muddy waters inundating residential areas, structures covered by rivers and avalanches.
“People without resources in areas like Ambala are facing great difficulties because the water has even entered our schools and convents. The local nuns are experiencing a difficult time, but the Redemptorist priests have managed despite the fact that the water invaded their houses. In the Ropar district, the houses of the Jesuits and the Sisters of the Holy Family were flooded”, (see photo) continues Msgr. Ignatius Mascarenhas. “Simla-Chandigarh Catholic Church immediately started providing aid and relief to the people affected by the flood. In some areas the rains have already begun to diminish, but in others the river has overflowed because the dams were opened, and therefore they remain at risk of flooding.
The India Meteorological Department issued a red alert in Uttarakhand and ten districts of Himachal Pradesh, while at the same time announcing a reduction in rainfall in areas of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and around Chandigarh from today.