At least six dead, several missing after India landslides and floods

A worker uses an excavator to clear a road damaged by flash floods following heavy rains in Bhagsunag, about 10km from Dharamshala, on July 12, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

SHIMLA, INDIA (AFP) - Rescuers in northern India were digging through rocks and mud searching for the missing on Tuesday (July 13), after heavy monsoon rains triggered landslides and flash floods in two states, killing at least six people, officials said.

Television footage and videos shared on social media showed roads, cars and homes being washed away in Dharamshala in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, which has been lashed by torrential rains since the weekend.

One body was recovered and five people were rescued at Boh village, where one of the landslides took place, officials said.

Two more bodies were found in landslides and flash floods elsewhere in the state.

"NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) men continued to search for the missing in the night and after daybreak at Boh village... where nine people are still missing," Kangra district's police superintendent Vimukt Ranjan told AFP on Tuesday.

In the neighbouring state of Uttarakhand, officials told the Press Trust of India that three members of a family were killed when their house collapsed during a landslide on Sunday.

Dharamshala is a popular tourist destination and also home to a large number of Tibetan refugees, including their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Tourists have flocked to the town in recent weeks - triggering Covid-19 social distancing warnings - as temperatures soared in northern India ahead of the arrival of the annual monsoon deluge.

Authorities said tourists should avoid the region amid forecasts of more heavy rains that could lead to landslides in the next 24 hours.

Damaged houses along the banks of the overflowing Manjhi River are pictured following heavy rains in Bagli village, near Dharamshala, on July 12, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

The monsoon is crucial to replenishing water supplies in South Asia, but also causes widespread death and destruction across the region each year.

Nearly 80 people were killed in three states in northern and western India over the weekend after being struck by lightning.

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