The Dalai Lama on Thursday expressed sadness over the destruction caused by severe flooding in northern India, particularly in Himachal Pradesh, which has been hardest hit. His Holiness offered prayers for the loss of life and pledged to make a financial donation to help with humanitarian relief efforts.
As the effects of global climate change become more extreme, torrential monsoon rains in northern India have caused flash floods and landslides, leading to at least 150 reported deaths over the past two weeks , with extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure in the area.
In a personal letter to the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, the Dalai Lama, who has been visiting Ladakh since July 11, expressed his sadness at the scale of human suffering:
“Having lived so happily in this state for over six decades, I feel a special affinity for the people here,” His Holiness wrote. “I pray for those who lost their lives and offer my sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones, as well as to others affected by this natural calamity.
“I understand that the state government and other agencies are doing all they can to provide relief and lessen the effects of this tragedy. As a show of solidarity with the people of Himachal Pradesh, the Dalai Lama Trust is making a donation for rescue and relief efforts. (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
Northern India, which weeks earlier was battling an extreme summer heat wave that killed at least 170 people, has received record rainfall since the start of the monsoon season in June. The Indian Meteorological Department reported that Himachal Pradesh recorded a 100% increase in average rainfall.
In mountainous Himachal Pradesh, home to the Dalai Lama and a large Tibetan diaspora population, at least 91 people are believed to have died, with more than 100 injured. Media quoted a government statement that said vehicles, bridges and homes had been washed away by floodwaters. Some 170 homes in the state collapsed and another 600 were damaged by torrential rains and landslides, and more than 1 roads were closed. Meanwhile, at least 000 tourists were evacuated over a 50-hour period, according to the state information department.
Five hundred kilometers further south, in New Delhi, a city of 20 million people, drinking water supplies were hit after sewage treatment plants flooded following prolonged downpours. The Yamuna, a major tributary of the Ganges, overflowed after reaching its highest level in 45 years.
Higher than usual rainfall was recorded in the states of Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and India. Uttar Pradesh. Although heavy monsoon rains are common in the region between June and October, providing around 80% of South Asia's annual rainfall, which is essential for agriculture, scientists say seasonal downpours become more extreme and irregular due to climate change and global warming.