Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Himachal Floods: Damage To Infrastructure Estimated At ₹8,000 crore, CM Appeals For Donations

The unprecedented rains from July 9 to July 12 damaged 40 bridges. The state administration launched a massive operation to rescues 70,000 tourists stranded in various places across the state
July 18, 2023
Himachal Flood
Nature's fury: Excessive rainfall in Himachal Pradesh triggered massive flash floods that damaged critical infrastructure. Photo: Wiki Commons (file image)

As power and mobile connectivity gets restored in Himachal Pradesh following the deluge on July 9 to July 11, the true extent of the devastation caused by the flash floods to the mountain state is becoming apparent. Social media is awash with videos of roads, bridges, cars, trucks, busses and building being swept aways by the raging waters in the rivers. With more rain forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) for rest of the month, it seems, the gateway to the Western and Greater Himalaya will be bearing the fury of the Indian Summer Monsoon like never before.

Between July 1-17, the state received excess rainfall ranging from 81.9 mm (Lahaul & Spiti) to 531.8 mm (Sirmaur). The Kullu Valley, which suffered largescale destruction of roads and bridges received 260.4 mm excess rain in the first 17 days of July.

Himachal Flood
Source: India Meteorological Department. © Tatsat Chronicle

The heavy downpour across the state triggered flash floods in most of the rivers and streams draining from the glaciers in the higher reaches of the mountain state. According to IMD data, Himachal received 233 mm of rain between July 7 and July 10 compared to the normal average of 41.6 mm. The long-term average rainfall for Himachal during the monsoon season is 734 mm, of which it received almost 31% in just four days. Environmental experts point that such extreme weather events are evidence of climate change.

According to the Himachal Pradesh government, as of July 15, the total damage to roads, bridges, and other infrastructure was assessed to be around ₹8,000 crore. News reports suggest 40 major bridges have been damaged or destroyed besides many important roads have been cut off at important places. The strategically important Ambala-Leh highway that passes through the Kullu Valley has been washed away in several places by the Beas river. The 41-km stretch between Kullu and Manali suffered extensive damage at Raison and Khalat. A 50-year-old bridge connecting Kullu Valley to Banjar Valley got washed away.


Many cars of tourists and inter-state buses in Manali were washed away by the swirling waters of the Beas and the nullahs that feed the rivers.

The state government had to launch a massive operation to rescue 70,000 tourists, who were stranded in various places, including 250 tourists in the remote Chandra Tal (Moon Lake) area and 118 people in Sangla close to the India-China border. Most of the high passes received several feet of snow had to be reopened by the Broder Roads Organisation. Various reports suggest that by July 11, 1,300 roads were affected due to landslides. According to the state government’s data, 108 people have lost their lives due to landslides, rockfalls and snake bites from the start of the monsoon in June until July 11.

With the horticulture season in full-swing, Chief Minister, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, directed the state administration on July 16 to clear the roads in the apple growing regions of the state for which ₹50 crore was sanctioned to the Public Works Department for the purchase of heavy earthmoving equipment. According to information provided by the state government, more than two crore boxes of apple will be harvested this year.

On July 16, Sukhu issued an appeal through his official twitter account to donate to a special fund that has been set up to provide relief to the people of the state. He further announced an immediate relief of ₹1 lakhs for people who lost their houses in Solan district in the floods.