Kullu: Amid heavy rainfall and flash floods, a moderate intensity earthquake was felt in Himachal Pradesh's Sirmaur district on Monday afternoon, district officials said. No loss of life or property was reported.

"A mild earthquake measuring 3.7 on Richter Scale was recorded at 2.22 pm on Monday," said director at Shimla Meteorological Centre Manmohan Singh.

Since Sunday, heavy rains and flash floods have played havoc, cutting off several parts of Himachal Pradesh. The water level in the Beas river has crossed the danger level in the past 24 hours, especially in the Mandi and Hamirpur districts. 

According to officials, all the major rivers and their tributaries were in spate and such was the force that it caused massive landslides on all major national highways in Shimla, Kinnaur, Mandi and Kullu districts, hampering vehicular traffic. 

The Mandi administration had stopped traffic in the affected areas as flood water reached the road. Panic has set in Manali and other parts of Kullu district as well. A tourist bus was swept away in Manali on Sunday, which was parked on Potato Ground. There were no casualities. Locals said they had warned the bus staff about the possible calamity, but they ignored.


In another such incident, a truck was swept away after flood water entered parking premises.

The state government has swing into action and sounded an alert in Chamba and Kullu districts where flash floods and landslides have caused damage to public and private property.

Rescue operations to evacuate people stuck in remote locations were underway. Around 19 people, who were stuck at Dobi in Kullu districts after flash floods, were rescued by an Indian Air Force (IAF) chopper. An official spokesperson said, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur, who has been overseeing the rescue opeartions for the past few days in the state, particularly in the four districts of Kullu, Chamba, Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti, has directed the officers to take all precautionary measures to minimise the loss to life and property.

“The resue opeartions are on. We are trying to evacuate and rehabilitate people. I request people not to go to high reach areas and near rivers,” Kullu deputy commissioner Yunus Khan said.

According to agency reports, around 120 people stranded at Koksar have been rescued. Similarly, 23 people have been rescued from Mari and 23 from Rohtang, officials said. Besides, 14 others were rescued by the Border Road Organisation (BRO) from Kullu. 

To avoid any untoward incident, schools remained closed on Monday in eight districts in the state — Kullu, Kinnaur, Chamba, Kangra, Bilaspur, Sirmaur, Mandi and Shimla.

According to sources, CM Thakur has directed that water levels in Chemera Dam I, II and III and Pandoh should be monitored strictly and early warnings provided to the authorities concerned.

Meanwhile, flash floods have also been reported in Jammu and Kashmir. State police and district officials have cleared a blocked road in Udhampur and launched rescue operations.