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Death toll in flash floods in India may cross 10,000: Official

Indian soldiers evacuate people from Uttarakhand. File Pic
Indian soldiers evacuate people from Uttarakhand. File Pic

There are apprehensions that death toll in flash floods caused by rains in Indian State of Uttarakhand may cross 10000.

New Delhi, July 1/Nationalturk- A top official of India’s Disaster Management has expressed apprehensions that the death toll in flash floods caused by rains may cross 10000 in Indian State of Uttarakhand, which was hit by floods a fortnight ago.

“The death toll in Uttarakhand (which has many Hindu temples) floods might cross 10000. Even it could be more than that,” Vice chairman of India’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Shashidhar Reddy said.

He said the casualty figure would be known only after removal of tonnes of debris from the affected areas.

The government has officially so far confirmed the death of 1000 people.

Reddy said more than 1500 people are still stranded in the flood ravaged hill State of India.

Rescue operation yet to be called off

The rescue operations in Uttarakhand, which were supposed to end last week, is yet to be called off. “The people, who have been evacuated said large number of people including Hindu pilgrims were stranded in the State. This is forcing officials to continue the rescue operation and not call it off,” sources said.

They said this year’s monsoon rains in the State region are heaviest in 80 years. The rivers have swept away entire villages in the state, where large number of Indus and foreign tourists visit Hindu temples.

The Chief Minister of State Vijay Bahuguna said a large team comprising police men and officials, health officials, animal husbandry and sanitation experts alongwith equipment will be sent to the flood ravages areas to extricate the bodies from the debris and perform their  last rites.

200 specialists scouring for bodies

Officials said team of 200 specialists is scouring the temple region of Kedarnath, the epicentre of the flash floods, for bodies which may still be trapped under debris or have been swept away by floods and landslides.

“Clearing tonnes of debris lying in the affected areas and extricating decaying bodies  is our top most priority at the moment,” they saidsaid.

They said disposal of bodies in Kedarnath is going on but process is slow due to frequently changing weather. “The State  government has requested Indian government for 100 tonnes of bleaching powder to help dispose the carcasses of animals killed in the flashfloods”.

“Over 0.1 million people have been evacuated from the state since June 27 when the relief and rescue operations were launched by Indian army, paramilitary forces and Indian Air Force.  1335 villages are, however, still cut-off and authorities are dropping rations there. They plan to distribute 1 month free ration for these villages,” officials said.

Indian air force has made hundreds of sorties to evacuate people from the affected areas. The Air Force lost one of its choppers in the crash, causing death of 20 people.

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Faiz Ahmad / NationalTurk India News


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