26 , August , 2023
Incessant rainfall continues to batter Himachal Pradesh with eight rain-weakened, multi-storey concrete buildings on a hillside pancaked into a jumble and crumbled like dominoes, leaving behind a cloud of thick dust and echoing sounds of collapsing debris in Anni of Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district.
Although, there were no casualties as the local authorities had evacuated the structures, mostly less than a decade old, situated in Kiran Bazaar near Anni bus stand on August 15. These buildings, including four multi-storey commercial complexes with shops and two banks, along with four residential houses, had developed cracks following heavy rains. The disaster triggered panic among residents who hurriedly fled the area.
Amidst the destruction, a two-storey old wooden house in the vicinity survived with minor damages, raising questions about the use of suitable construction materials for the terrain.
CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu shared a video of the devastation on his social media platforms and urged people to vacate such unsafe structures. Locals indicated that the land beneath Anni market had started to sink under the weight of the buildings.
The cause is not known, but an obvious potential suspect is the exceptionally heavy rain that fell this monsoon. Water percolating down through soil is known to be able to activate a slide, or a cave-in. Hundreds of mountainside and waterfront homes had slid down into canyons and raging rivers in the Himalayan state this wet season. Others attributed the collapse to the absence of a proper drainage system in Anni.