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13000 missing in flash floods in Indian State; Rescue, relief operation on

Over 200 have died in flashfloods in Indian state so far.
Over 200 have died in flashfloods in Indian state so far.

At least 13000 people are missing in Indian State of Uttarakhand, where flash floods have caused havoc and damaged hundreds of buildings and caused death of over 200 people.

New Delhi, June 21/Nationalturk – The relief and rescue operation is going on in Indian state of Uttarakhand, where flash floods have damaged hundreds of buildings and caused death of over 200 people. Over 13000 people are still missing and efforts are on to evacuate the stranded people and Hindu pilgrims.

“At least 50,422 Hindu pilgrims were still stranded at various places in Uttarakhand State. The State has been ravaged by flashfloods, which was caused by incessant rains,” a statement issued by Indian Home Ministry said.

It said over 13,000 people are yet to be accounted for.

It said a total of 33192 people have been rescued from the flash floods ravaged State.  “The search, rescue and relief operations are being carried out by armed force personnel and men of civilian government. Indian army and Indian airforce has pressed 45 helicopters into service to evacuate the rescued people to safer places”.

Indian defence ministry spokesman said army has deployed 8100 soldiers, including medical teams, engineer task forces and signal detachment in the State. “Ten specialised mountaineering teams of the Army were also pressed into service in the Kedarnath-Soumang area”.

“Bad weather is making it tough for helicopters to land and evacuate pilgrims.  Soldiers are being ferried by helicopter and are climbing through mountain paths to reach those trapped,” he said

Death toll may go up

A senior government said the death toll caused by flash floods stands at 207. “However, the death toll may go up as dozens of areas are still inaccessible and fate of people putting up there is not known”.

He said the casualties could be in hundreds. “The exact death toll figure can be worked out after completion of the search, relief and rescue operation”.

The official said almost everyone from Kedarnath town, where Hindu temple is situated and which was the epicenter of the devastation,  were rescued yesterday. “17 bodies were recovered from the town that cannot be accessed by roads”.

He said Kedarnath temple is submerged in slush and mud.

“The focus of the rescue efforts was now Gaurikund, one of the worst-hit areas worst-hit by flash floods, landslides and rain. Gaurikund is the base camp for those going to the Kedarnath temple,” the official said.

Hundreds of roads, bridges damaged

Officials said close to 1,100 small and big roads in the flash floods ravaged Indian state have been damaged. “At some places, the roads have been completely washed away. Besides, 94 bridges have been washed away in and around Rudraprayag alone,” they said adding it may take around 2 to 3 years to make completely recovery.

Chief Minister of Uttarakhand State Vijay Bahuguna said the forecast by the weatherman department was neither specific nor actionable.

“It rains every year. There was no specific warning of a cloudburst, that too has to be area-specific,” Vijay told Indian TV channel, NDTV.

He said the government possibly couldn’t have evacuated residents or cancelled the Hindu pilgrimage. Thousands of pilgrims, who had undertaken the pilgrimage,  had been stranded at many places in the State since last weekend.

Officials said 90 rest-houses for Hindu pilgrims have been swept away in flash floods.

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Faiz Ahmad / NationalTurk India News

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