Chaamriya (Almora) September 26
Tonnes of vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, ginger, bananas and loaves of bread lie rotting along the riverbed. The stench of rotting vegetables is all-pervasive. The stranded truck drivers are distributing whatever remains edible to the villagers. The latter in turn are offering whatever little they can to the drivers.
Beyond Chara village, people can move only on foot. We negotiate our way through the treacherous boulders fallen from the hills.
Parts of the erstwhile highway here can no longer be differentiated from the river bed. The trek is tricky and people keep looking over their shoulder to see if more boulders are rolling down the hill.
Rajender Singh Negi and his two brothers had a sprawling building at Lohali, which doubled as a hotel and also their home. It has been reduced to rubble. The only remnant of the building today was a cement slab of the roof. “There were 22 rooms,” rues Negi.
“The clothes that we wear were given by a relative. I am lucky to be wearing my own slippers but my wife could not save hers.
“A family was kind enough to give us shelter but we had to leave as water gushed into the room in which we were staying,” he told The Tribune.
Bhopal Ram Tamta lost five members of his family in Dhura where their house crumbled. He was today trekking 18 kilometres back to his village after purchasing material at Khairna for the ritual to be conducted on the 12th day after death.
The survivors in his village, he stated, were still afraid of sleeping in their houses, most of which have developed cracks. And although the government has paid compensation and has come up with aid, obtaining things like routine medicines and other things continue to be a Herculean task.
The administration has opened two relief camps for the disaster hit villagers and the drivers of trucks and other vehicles who are stranded here. The District Magistrate has also ordered that the stocks of grains and other material lying in the stranded trucks be utilised for the victims of the natural calamity.