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Black Fungus in Himachal Declared as an Epidemic, New Regulations Come into Force

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Himachal Pradesh Epidemic Diseases (Mucormycosis) Regulations 2021

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government has notified “Himachal Pradesh Epidemic Diseases (Mucormycosis) Regulations 2021” to declared Mucormycosis or Black Fungus as an epidemic for one year. The regulations would come into force at once, the notification said. 

The HP Government said that the neighbouring states of Himachal are threatened with the outbreak of dangerous epidemic disease – Mucormycosis. The disease has been reported among immune-compromised patients, especially COVID-19 patients being treated with steroids.  

What is Mucormycosis or Black Fungus 

According to the Centres  for Disease Control and Prevention, Mucormycosis (previously called zygomycosis) is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. These molds live throughout the environment. Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness. It most commonly affects the sinuses or the lungs after inhaling fungal spores from the air. It can also occur on the skin after a cut, burn, or other type of skin injury.

Symptoms of Mucormycosis 

MOHFW is separately issuing advisories to Healthcare Workers and Vaccine Beneficiaries to encourage people to be aware of suspected thromboembolic symptoms occurring within 20 days after receiving any COVID-19 vaccine (particularly Covishield) and report preferably to the health facility where vaccine was administered:

  • breathlessness;
  • pain in chest;
  • pain in limbs/pain on pressing limbs or swelling in limbs (arm or calf);
  • multiple, pinhead size red spots or bruising of skin in an area beyond the injection site;
  • persistent abdominal pain with or without vomiting;
  • seizures in the absence of previous history of seizures with or without vomiting;
  • severe and persistent headache with or without vomiting (in the absence of previous history of migraine or chronic headache);
  • weakness/paralysis of limbs or any particular side or part of the body (including face);
  • persistent vomiting without any obvious reason;
  • blurred vision or pain in eyes or having double vision;
  • change in mental status or having confusion or depressed level of consciousness
  • Any other symptom or health condition which is of concern to the recipient or the family

Under Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, the Himachal Pradesh Government has announced the following regulations:

  1. “Diseases (Mucormycosis) Regulations. 2021” and will remain valid for one year from the date of publication.
  2. All the healthcare facilities (Government and Private) will follow the guidelines for screening, diagnosis. Management of Mucormycosis. Issued by MOHFW (GoI)/ICMR/ State Government and as amended from time to time.
  3. All the healthcare facilities (Government and private) will report each and every suspected or confirmed case of Mucormycosis to the Health Department through the concerned Chief Medical Officer.
  4. No person/institution or organization will spread any information or material for the management of Mucormycosis without prior permission from Health Department, Himachal Pradesh
  5. Notice for disobeying the Notification: A committee under the Chairmanship of Chief Medical Officer will be constituted in each district, which will have specialists of Internal Medicine. Ophthalmology. ENT and Epidemiology as members review any disobeying by any person/institution or organization of the notification or any order issued under these regulations. If allegations are proved, notice would be issued by the Chief Medical Officer of the concerned district against such person/institution or organization. Indicating the offence/irregularity conducted as per this notification.
  6. The concerned Chief Medical Officer will take the necessary action against the delinquent person/institution or organization as per section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
  7. Penalty: Any person/institution or organization disobeying these Regulations or order issued under these Regulations would be deemed to have committed an offence punishable under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
  8. Protection to persons acting under these Regulations: No suit or legal proceedings would lie against any person for anything done or intended to be done in good faith under these regulations.

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Video: Massive Landslide in Sirmaur Caught on Camera, NH 707 Closed for Traffic

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Sirmaur landslide nh 707

Sirmaur-Incessant rains have caused another massive landslide in the Sirmaur district on National Highway 707. A 100 to 150 meters stretch of Paonta Sahib – Shillai road near Kali Dhank, Badwas, caved in within a few minutes.

According to the initial information received, no loss of lives or damage to any vehicle was reported as a minor slide from the hill had alerted the people.

The landslide completely damaged several electricity poles, causing a blackout in some parts of the region.

The district police is re-directing all traffic from Paonta Sahib to Shillai to the Puruwala-Kilod-Jong-Kafota-Shillai route.

Further, all traffic movement towards Shimla from the region has also been re-directed.

The HP Meteorological Department has issued a yellow alert for the state till August 2th, while widespread rain has been predicted till August 4th. 

The Met has also issued an alert for flash-floods for Chamba, Mandi, Kullu, Shimla, and Solan districts.

It’s pertinent to mention that furious monsoon has already claimed over 200 lives and caused damages to property worth hundreds of crores in Himachal Pradesh.

During the last two days, as many as 21 people had died due to landslides and flash floods triggered by cloudbursts. Some of the persons who were swept away or buried were yet to be traced.

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Himachal: Cloudbursts, Landslides Claim 9 Lives in 48 Hours, 7 Still Missing, Met Issues Alert Till August 1st  

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monsoon damage in himachal pradesh 2021

Shimla-Monsoon continues to pummel Himachal Pradesh with deadly ferocity, leading to more cloudbursts, landslides, and flash floods. Several rivers and rivulets are in spate. Incessant rains could bring more destruction as the HP Meteorological Department has forecast widespread heavy rains till August 1st. While a red alert was issued for July 28, an orange alert has been issued for July 29 and July 30 and a yellow alert for July 31st and August 1st.

An advisory has been issued for locals and tourists to not venture near the river banks and avoid unnecessary travel as incessant rains could lead to more landslides, flash floods, and uprooting of trees.  However, tourists could be seen resolutely ignoring these warnings and partying near river banks and water bodies.

As devastation unfolds, the death toll due to monsoon induced calamities has reached nearly 200, while damages to property were assessed to be in hundreds of crores. Over 350 roads, including Manali-Leh, Pathankot-Chamba, and Shimla-Kalka, were blocked due to landslides.  Half a dozen bridges, as many as 30 houses and several vehicles were destroyed. Hundreds of tourists were reportedly struck in Lahaul.

lahaul-spiti cloudburst

After a flash flood in Dharamshala, a massive landslide in Shahpur constituency, and a horrid rockslide in Kinnaur district that killed nine tourists and injured four people, a cloudburst triggered a flash flood in Lahaul-Spiti district on Tuesday that washed away over a dozen of people, who were said to be labourers.  

cloudburst in lahaul-spiti

According to the Director of the State Disaster Management, Sudesh Kumar, at the time of writing this report, seven bodies had been recovered while four others were missing. The cloudburst occurred over Tonzin nallah in the Lahaul region of the tribal district. Rescue operations were in progress to trace missing persons.

A team of the National Disaster Response Force, which was on its way to Lahaul-Spiti through road, remained stuck in Mandi for several hours.  

On Wednesday morning, cloudburst was reported in Kullu district resulting in deluging of Bhramhaganga – a tributary of Parvati river. A  tourist, a 25-year-old mother along with her 4-year-old son, and a hydropower official came in its spate and were yet to be traced. Beas river was also in spate and people living in shanties on its bank were evacuated. 

Beas in spate

Rackham area in Kinnaur district also reported heavy losses due to a cloudburst on Wednesday morning.

While a rockslide killed one person in Chamba’s Saluni, a helper tagged with a JCB deployed for clearing Bharmaur-Pathankot National Highway was swept away by gushing waters of a nullah on Tuesday night. His body was recovered on Wednesday.

In Shimla, a landslide between Vikasnagar and Panthaghati crushed a vehicle and caused damaged to some others. Gumma khud in Chirgaon was also in spate and reportedly swept away a bridge and about four vehicles. 

landslide in shimla crushed car

Dharamsala received the highest 122 mm of rain, followed by Una 119 mm. In Solan district, Kasauli and Nalagarh also received over 105 mm rain. 

This widespread destruction has worried climatologists and environmentalists who are linking increased instances of landslides and cloudburst to environmental degradation and destabilization of hills due to developmental projects, including cutting of hills for widening of roads, construction of four lanes, hydropower projects etc. 

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Kinnaur: Massive Landslide Caught on Camera, Kills 9 Tourists, Injures 4, Destroys Bailey Bridge

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kinnaur landslide in batseri

Kinnaur: A massive landslide in Batseri on Sangla-Chitkul road in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh on Sunday killed nine persons and injured at least four others. Huge boulders rolled down the mountain following the landslide and destroyed an iron Bailey bridge and many vehicles parked along the road within a few seconds.

A tourist vehicle, which was reportedly carrying about 11 tourists from Delhi NCR, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Chattisgarh, was hit by boulders near Gunsa, killing nine tourists. A couple of videos of this heart-wrenching incident went viral on social media. In the video, some people can be heard whistling and shouting to warn others.

“Nine people died, and three were injured after boulders rolled downhill due to a landslide in Kinnaur district. Batseri bridge collapsed in the incident. A rescue team is present at the spot,” Superintendent of Police (SP), Kinnaur, Saju Ram Rana said.

The intensity with which boulders hit could be assessed from the fact that the iron bailey bridge on the Baspa river collapsed instantly. 

Video of landlside in himachal pradesh

On receiving the information, teams of district police and Indo-Tibetan Border Police rushed to the spot and initiated a rescue operation. The district administration was also assessing the situation. As per reports, rocks sliding down from the hilltop made the rescue operation difficult for the teams.

sangla valley landslide

As per initial reports, a request was made to make a helicopter available to aid rescue work, which was yet to be fulfilled.

landslide in himachal pradesh

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur also expressed grief over the incident. An ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh was announced for the deceased while injured would be given Rs. 50 thousand.

The exact cause behind the landslide was yet to be ascertained.

The deceased were identified as:

  1. Pratiksha Sunil Patil (27) from Sadhbhawna Nagar, Nagpur, Maharashtra
  2. Deepa Sharma (34) from Jaipur
  3. Amoghi Bapat (27) from Korba Darri in Chhatisgarh
  4. Umrab Singh (42) of Tagore Garden West Delhi
  5. Kumar Ulhas vedpathak (37)
  6. Anurag Biyani (31) from Sikar in Rajasthan, his mother Maya Devi Biyani (55) and his sister Richa Biyani (25)
  7. Satish Katakbar (34) from Chhatisgarh.

Those injured have been identified as Shiril Obroy (39) from West Delhi, Naveen Bhardwaj (37) from Kaharar in Mohali and Ranjeet Singh (45) from Batseri in Sangla.

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