'Death better than this nightmare': landslide victims in Himachal Pradesh

As many as 120 people have died in rain-related incidents in the state this month alone, while the total death toll is estimated at 238, with 40 people still missing

File image of rescue operations in Himachal Pradesh (photo: DW)
File image of rescue operations in Himachal Pradesh (photo: DW)


"Death would have better than going through this nightmare with nowhere to go and no shoulder to cry on," says Promila, who lost everything when a room in a building she stayed in crumbled in a landslide.

The landslide on the morning of 23 August partially damaged Prari House — a government accommodation in which Promila lived with her ailing mother near Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital (IGMCH).

Narrating her plight to PTI on Friday, she said, "I live with my 75-year-old mother who is suffering from ovarian cancer and has been undergoing treatment since 2016. I also lost my job as a sales girl in a shop in Ram Nagar in the city market last week due to the recession as there were no customers.

“I slept at IGMCH on Thursday night as there is no place to go," says Promila, who is separated from her husband. “I am desperately looking for a job and am willing to even clean and sweep as I am in dire need of money for my mother's treatment,” she adds. "My mother is all I have."

"We could not salvage our belongings and the only things left are the clothes we were wearing while running out of the collapsed house," says Suman, whose room was adjacent to Promila's.

Suman, who works as a domestic help, says she has lost everything in the landslide and has no money to even pay her son's school fees. She said they have no shelter, no clothes and that even the school books of her son, a student of class 5, were damaged in the landslide.

"Our plight is miserable but it did not attract the attention of the authorities as no casualty was reported in this landslide. What is the use of getting so many donations, if the state government cannot help the disaster victims?” she asks.

"We had food at a gurdwara and are shuttling between our relatives' houses, but we have not received any help or immediate relief," she adds.

Shimla has witnessed several landslides in recent weeks, with the toll in rain-related incidents in the district in the past 10 days rising to 26, which includes 17 deaths in the Summer Hill landslide, five in Fagli, and two in Krishna Nagar.

As many as 120 people have died in rain-related incidents in the state this month alone, while a total of 238 people have died and 40 are still missing since the onset of unprecedented rains in Himachal Pradesh on 24 June.

The state has seen three major spells of heavy rains this monsoon. The first on 9 and 10 July led to large-scale destruction in Mandi and Kullu districts. Shimla and Solan districts were hit during the second spell on 14 and 15 August, and the capital Shimla suffered heavy damage in the third spell on Tuesday night. 

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Published: 25 Aug 2023, 5:17 PM