When a spike of rainfall hit the Indian state of Uttarakhand from early July to late August 2023, the town of Kotdwar experienced a series of disasters. Four rivers – the Khoh, Sukhro, Malan and Paniyali – flow through the town. As the rivers flooded, a bridge over the Malan collapsed on 13 July, as did a bridge over the Paniyali on 28 July. Then on 8 August, the approach road to the bridge over the Khoh broke apart. Many houses, small bridges, roads, and security walls were damaged as the rivers surged.
Across the state of Uttarakhand, almost 100 people were killed in disasters between 15 June and 15 September, with 1,100 landslides recorded in the state in 2023 so far – the highest in eight years.
Dharamveer Prajapati, a resident of Kotdwar, stands in front of a house that was half washed away in the floods. “There was a cloudburst on 8 August and again on 13 August. The water moved forward destroying everything that came its way,“ he says, pointing to the Khoh River. “At least 40-45 houses were destroyed. Now, it doesn’t seem as if any house existed here.”
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