Himachal Pradesh
State Disaster Management Authority

Floods are another from of natural disaster which the state experiences every year. Due to the diverse topography of the area, the flood problem in the state is largely isolated in Nature. High monsoon rains in the area of the Shiwalik and lower and mid Himalayan ranges cause extensive floods during rainy seasons. In the upper reaches of the Beas and Satuj valley the main problems are flash floods and bank erosion because of the steep slopes of rivers and high river flows due to heavy rains. Often the flash caused due to cloudbursts, glacial lake outbursts and temporary blockade of the river channels have been also observed. As a result of breaches in embankments and damage to various utilities such as irrigation/flood control schemes and houses are also observed.


The rivers of importance from flood damage angle are:

  • River Satluj and its tributaries like Spiti, Sangle khad, Ali khad, Gambhar khad,Sir khad, and Swan river
  • River Beas and tributaries like Uhl and Suketi khads.
  • River Ravi and its tributaries like Siul
  • River Yamuna and its tributaries like Pabbar,Giri and Bata.

Although widespread floods problems do not exist in the state because of topographical nature, continuing attention is necessary to reduce flood hazards in the state, more particularly the flash flood hazard the incidences of which are increasing causing large scale damage. The major flash floods have been tabulated as under:


Major Flash Floods in Himachal Pradesh.


Some of the devastating Floods, which caused heavy damage to Private as well as Public Property in Himachal Pradesh.


Prominent Flash Floods

History of Damage Occurred

8 July 1973

Lake formed by the blockage of Satluj river due to Nathpa rock fall damaged Sanjay power house, loss of about Rs. 45 million estimated.

19 Jan. 1975

In Satluj basin two blockages were observed in Spiti valley. One on Parechu River between Sumdo and Kaurik due to landslide created by 19 Jan. 1975 earthquake, which occurred along the Sumdo-Kaurik fault. Blockage was 60m in height and 150m in length created temporary lake. In march this lake burst causing flash floods in Spiti valley

On 29th Sept. 1988 (2.30 a.m.) a flash flood occurred due to cloud burst in Soldang Khad.

Caused heavy loss of life and property in the Soldng village.
• Washed away the Bhabanagar water works.
• Washed away 2 Km of NH-22 across Soldan Khad.
• Created landslides along the eastern slopes of Soldan Khad and damaged road to Ponda.
• Lake was formed on the Satluj river near conference.
• Block stopped the flow of Satluj river for about 30 minutes and created a temporary lake having dimensions roughly about 6000 m long. 200-250 m wide and 25-30 m deep extending up to Wangtoo Bridge.
• Lake water entered Sanjay Vidut Pariyojna and damaged the Power House.

31 July and 2 August 1991

Cloudburst and flash flood along Soldan Khad in Satluj valley killed 32 people, 15 houses, 35 bigha agriculture land, 600 apple trees, 2Km of road of NH 22 and 20 m bridge on Soldan Khad washed away. Agriculture land along Leo village situated downstream.

24 Feb 1993

Flood washed away 15 houses, 35 bigha of agriculture land and about 600 apple trees in Soldang village.

4th and 5th September

Satluj river blocked twice due to major landslide and rock fall near Jhakri and Nathpa, damaging NH-22.

Another flash flood occurred in two phases along Duling Khad on 4th and 5th September causing extensive damage in Tapri, district Kinnaur.

First flash flood occurred on 4th September 1995 at 2 p.m. After cloudbursts in the upper catchments of Duling and damaged the PWD rest house.
Another flood came at 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. on 5th Sept. 1995 bursting the lake formed during the previous cloudbursts.

• 32 people and 35 cattle lost their lives.
• Huge debris formed a fan along Satluj and formed a take partially blocking the Satluj
• Flash flood caused heavy damage due to change in course of Satluj from left to right bank increased the tow and lateral erosion at Tapri.
• Washed away 19 houses, HRTC workshop along with 3 buses.
• Change in course is still causing tow erosion to NH-22.

4th and 5th Sept. 1995 flash flood in Kullu valley

Flash flood in Kullu valley occurred which cause damage to the tune of Rs. 759.8 million.


500 m road section of NH-22 washed away by Jakhri slide. Rs. 10 million loss to road and forest land, a village upper slope was in danger.

4-5 and 12 Sept. 1995

Flood and landslide along Bas river in Kullu valley killed 65 people. NH damaged at numerous places, loss to government and private property, road and bridges estimated US$ 182 million.

4-5 Sept. 1995

Flash flood along Panwi Khad in Satluj valley washed away 19 houses, 3 buses, HRTC workshop and damaged HPPWD rest house at Tapri.


Flash flood and landslide along Andhra khad in Pabbar valley killed 124 people, 456 cattle, washed away government and private buildings, 200 m road section and damaged Andhra power house at Chirgaon. Loss was estimated Rs. 10.63 million.


Cloudburst and flash flood along Satluj river killed 19 people, 464 cattle, 105 houses damaged, 10 cattle sheds and 39-hectare agriculture land. Total loss was estimated Rs.672.9 million.

Flash floods in the night of 31st July and 1st August 2000 in Satluj valley.

Flash floods in the Satluj valley resulting in the increase in water level of Satluj an up to 60 feet above the normal level. The flash flood ws termed as the one that occurs once in 61,000 years. Widespread damage in the valley right from its confluence with Spiti river near Khab to downstream areas. Extensive damage to 200 Km of NH-22, washed away 20 bridges, 22 Jhulas and badly damaged 12 bridges. About 1000 irrigation, sewerage, flood protection and water supply schemes were badly damaged. Expensive damage to hydel projects including NJPC. 135 people and 1673 cattle lost their lives. The total estimated loss was to the tune of Rs. 1466.26 crore.

Flash floods on the night of 23rd July 2001 in Sainj valley in District Kullu.

Cloudbursts in the upper reaches of Sainj valley caused flash floods in two nallahs namely, Sainj and Jeeba, affecting about 40 families 2 bridges on Sainj and Jeeba nallahs and plenty of fertile land were washed away. Connecting road to Slund and Sainj was also washed away at a number of places. Two persons were washed away and 5 cattle perished. Some other areas in Kullu district were also affected due to excessive rains in July and the population of 6355 was adversely affected.

17th and 19th July 2001 floods in Mandi district.

Excessive rains caused damage to 160 houses in Mandi district and destroyed 11 cattle and one human life.

Flash floods in the night of 29th and 30th July 2001 in Chhota Bhangal and Baijnath Sub Division of Kangra District.

Caused widespread damage in the area. 12 deaths occurred due to flash floods and loss of 150 cattle was reported from the area. Bridge connecting Deol and Baijnath was also washed away. Total estimated loss was to the tune of Rs. 18.27 crores.

Flash floods in the night of 9th August and 10th August 2001 on Moral-Danda peak in the Rohru sub Division in Shimla District.

Flash floods occurred along two streams, one along the Devidhar area and an other along Darkali in Rampur Sub Division. Damage to infrastructure like roads, bridges, water supply schemes, forest wealth, agriculture land, horticulture land, footbridges, village paths, residential houses and water mills and loss of 3 lives and 39 cattle and destruction of private property. Total loss in both the Sub Divisions was 145.15 lacs. In Rohru Sub Division 7 bridges, 8 village paths, 8 water supply schemes, and I power house were damaged besides 16 houses, whereas in Rampur Sub Division, 10 bridges, 8 village paths, 1 water supply scheme, I soil conservation plant, 7 residential houses and 16 water mills were damaged.

Flash floods in the night of 21st and 22nd August 2001, cloudburst in Ani Sub Division of Kullu district occurred.

Due to flash flood in village Badhali 2 houses in which a couple was buried alive and their two children injured. In village sarli 7 people lost their lives, 15 houses were washed away besides the loss of 12 cows, 18 oxen and 40 sheep and about 115 bighas of agriculture and horticulture land was washed away.

Flash floods in Sihunta ara and Tissa areas of Chamba district in the night of 12th and 13th August 2001.

Washed away 9 hectare of fertile land, 2 small bridges causing a total loss to property of some Rs. 2 Crore.

Flash floods due to cloudbursts in Gharsa valley on 16th July 2003 in Kullu district.

Due to these flash floods 21 people lost their lives, 21 people suffered major injuries and 9 are still missing.

Flash floods in Kangni nalla near Solang in Kullu district on 7th August 2003.

30 people lost their lives and 19 people were injured and 9 people are missing, 2 people lost their lives due to landslide in Bhang nalla.

Flash flood in Satluj river due to breach in the Parachoo lake in Tibetan catchment on 26th June 2005

Extensive damage as a result of risen water level of Satluj river due to breach in Parachoo lake formed in Tibet catchments. Washed away the NH-22 at a number of places, 10 bridges, 11 ropeways washed away, 15 motor able bridges and 8 jeep able and footbridges damaged/affected, 10 Km stretch of NH-22 between Wangtoo and Samdo was washed away, and various link roads were damaged. Total loss estimated to the government as well as public property was some Rs. 610 crore.

Flash floods during July 2005.

Flash floods in Pabbar river in Rohru Sub Division resulted in heavy losses to roads, bridges, public buildings, residential houses, cowsheds, private land. Dhirgaon block was totally cut off. On July 7th, 2005, flash flood in Baspa river took place causing the loss of 6 bridges and 600 mt link road to Sangla. More than 3000 cattle perished in different parts of the state leading a total loss of some of Rs. 55980.76 lacs.

15th August 2007, Bhavi Village, Ghanvi, Shimla

58 persons died; All roads leading to village cut off

7th August 2009, Dharampur, Mandi

2 persons died

12th September 2010, Kharahal Valley

Washed away several roads and bridges

(Source: Bhandari, 1988; Sah et al, 1996; Sah and Mazari 1998; Sah and Bist, 1988; Paul et al, 2000, Revenue Department, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh).