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Sutlej floods vast areas in Himachal Pradesh
Monday, June 27, 2005 (New Delhi):
Sutlej floods vast areas in HP, 5000 evacuated, Sutlej recedes; flood threat wanes
The threat of flash floods in Himachal has reduced substantially because of receding water levels of river Sutlej.
The flash floods, which started with overflowing of Parchu river and melting glaciers due to excessive heat last week has caused extensive damage. It washed away more then one dozen bridges in the Kinnaur-Rampur belt and several villages including Lio village have been swept away by the rushing waters. There was an unprecedented rise of 25 metres in the water level of Sutlej on Sunday morning -- much higher than water levels of 2000 when flash floods caused extensive damage.
A sudden rise in the water level river Sutlej in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday flooded large areas of Kinnaur and Kullu districts of Himachal Pradesh forcing evacuation of 5,000 people as the army and air force stood by to meet any eventuality.The spate in Sutlej, triggered a sharp rise in the water level of its tributary Parechhu originating in Tibet, washed away or damaged five bridges and submerged vast lands along the river bank with small habitations, including 50 houses in Rampur town.
Amidst apprehensions of a flash flood, the Centre held an emergency meeting of top officials in New Delhi to assess the situation and asked the army and air force to undertake rescue and relief operations at short notice. At least 30 helicopters stood by at two air bases to meet any exigency. However, reports reaching here late on Sunday night said the water level of Sutlej had been falling by five to seven feet hour but authorities were taking no chances and maintained a close vigil on the water level of the rivers.
A high alert was sounded by the state administration along the 200km stretch from Sumdoh in Kinnaur district to Mandi and Bilaspur as water level in Parechhu surged by 60 to 70 feet at 9 am and the army mess at Samdoh was submerged. Duggal told reporters in Delhi that 5,000 people were evacuated from three villages along a 200-km stretch of Sutlej. The 1500MW Nathpa-Jhakri hydel power project was shut down in the wake of the rise in Sutlej and two bridges of the project were washed away by gushing waters which also entered 50 houses in Baroh.