Uttarakhand on alert after heavy rainfall

Rivers in India's northern state of Uttarakhand are in a spate following heavy rainfall. Water level in river Ganges has risen alarmingly. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India Jul 17, 2016, 11.18 AM (IST)
Heavy rains lashed parts of India's northern state of Uttarakhand on Saturday, throwing normal life out of gear.

The meteorological department has issued an alert of heavy to very heavy rainfall in the state in the next 24 hours.

Several areas in Srinagar district were flooded after the Alaknanda river breached its embankments, submerging shops and houses.

Vehicular traffic also remained disrupted due to recurring landslides on the Rishikesh- Badrinath National Highway, cutting link to Rudraprayag and Chamoli districts, in Uttarakhand.

"If I talk about the national highway, it is also lying in the danger zone. Water is flowing downside from across the national highway. There are chances of landslides too. I think if it continues to rain like this for one or two days, it may severely damage the National Highway," said a local.

People in Farsu village of the district vacated their houses and took shelter in an ancient temple to escape nature's wrath.

"All houses, shops and ancient temple everything are submerged in water. Government and administration are here from last two days," said another villager.

Several rivers in India's northern Uttarakhand state are in a spate following heavy rainfall in the last few days. In the holy city of Haridwar, water levels in the river Ganges also rose alarmingly.

Rains triggered cloudbursts in various parts of the state earlier this month, claiming lives of 35 people.

Uttarakhand suffered heavy losses after flash floods due to cloudburst in June 2013 that left over 5,000 dead or missing.

Monsoon season is critical for the country's 263 million farmers because nearly half of their farmland lacks irrigation.

But it also causes devastating landslides, floods and water-borne diseases, as civic administrations often fail to cope with challenges posed by it.