M A I N   N E W S

FLOOD fury 
Toll may be in several hundreds: U’khand CM
Rescue operations in full swing 
Over 50,000 still stuck 
Kedarnath evacuated
Tribune News Service & PTI

Dehradun/New Delhi, June 20
Rescue and relief operations were intensified on a massive scale today in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand as multiple agencies evacuated the worst-affected Kedarnath town and other areas even as the death toll is feared to be in thousands.
Union Home Ministry officials said over 50,000 people were stranded in various parts of the state that was hit by flash floods and landslips.

Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth held a review meeting with top Central and Uttarakhand government officials and issued directions to speed up rescue operations in the flood-ravaged state.

The official death toll still stood at 150 but Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said the casualties could run into several hundreds which will be known only when areas become accessible and water recedes. The state government’s disaster mitigation and management centre said the casualities could run into thousands with about 90 dharamshalas (resthouses for pilgrims) swept away in the flash floods. In the wake of poor connectivity and communication, relatives of several pilgrims, who came from outside the state, were struggling to find the whereabouts of their dear ones. Uttarakhand Principal Secretary (Home) Om Prakash told reporters that 1,000 people have been evacuated from different places.

The Defence and Home ministries today collectively stepped up relief operations by inducting more choppers and more troops. Lt Gen NS Bawa General Officer Commanding, Uttar-Bharat Area, Bareilly, said: “It may be too early to give a count of survivors or those missing or possibly dead. At present, the troops on the ground are busy in rescue work”. ITBP DG Ajay Chaddha said: “Currently, we don’t have any estimate. The real picture will emerge only after all people are rescued”.

The Army has rushed in more men, including medical, engineers and signals teams, to Uttarakhand.

The Army and the Indian Air Force are collectively operating 37 helicopters. A MI-17 has been deployed just to carry fuel from Dehradun to Gauchar, near Rudrayprag, which saves refuelling time for pilots. Food, medicines and other essentials were also carried to the needy by the defence forces. The IAF today carried out a reconnaissance to examine the feasibility of landing the medium lift plane, the C-130-J, at mud-paved advanced landing grounds at Gauchar or Dharasu. The C-130 can carry around 20 tonnes of material in a single sortie. The MoD has told the state government to give priority to old and sick people in airlifting. 

The ITBP chief said the worst affected Kedarnath temple area has been evacuated. There could still be about 400-500 people in the upper reaches, he said, adding that an operation would be launched on Friday to bring these people down. The Rambada area around the Kedarnath temple was still in slush and debris and there could bodies submerged in it, he said. The Uttarkashi-Yamnotri highway was opened today for traffic as a result 18,000 stranded pilgrims were able to reach Rishikesh.


90 dharamshalas swept away

  • 90 dharamshalas (resthouses for pilgrims) have been swept away in flash floods
  • The Uttarkashi-Yamunotri highway was opened for traffic on Thursday after which 18,000 stranded pilgrims were able to reach Rishikesh
  • Food, medicines and other essentials were being carried to the needy by the defence forces





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