A massive landslide in northern India caused boulders to roll down a mountain and deal catastrophic damage to a village in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh.
As reported by The New York Times, the natural disaster killed 9 people, many of them tourists, and even destroyed a bridge. “My heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in this,” wrote Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, on Twitter as he offered his sympathies to the relatives of those who died. “All arrangements are being made for the treatment of those injured in the accident.”
A viral video captured the incident firsthand and showed massive rocks tumbling quickly down a mountain before crashing into a bridge and causing it to collapse. Jairam Thankur called the event “heart-wrenching.” The landslides were evidently caused by heavy rain that soaked the area, as India is currently in the midst of its monsoon season, which usually lasts from June to September every year. The tourists killed were from the capital, Delhi, and were visiting Chitkul, a popular tourist destination.
India cautiously recently reopened their airports to international travelers after a second COVID wave killed thousands this past spring. India officials have still urged caution, however, as only around 6% of the population is currently vaccinated against the virus. While the Taj Mahal and other tourist destinations are open to the public, many residents expressed hesitancy regarding visitors. “The corona is still with us,” said Sumit Chaurasia, a local tour guide, to The New York Times. “Don’t sacrifice your life to visit the Taj Mahal.”