M A I N   N E W S

Rescue efforts gather pace
19,000 await help as rain threat looms
UAV to help locate survivors
Tribune News Service & PTI

disaster zone

3,000 rescued
Over 3,000 people evacuated by security forces
Rescuers battle rains and inclement weather.  Air operations briefly suspended
Over 10,000 pilgrims still stranded in Badrinath
BSNL starts two helpline numbers (1503 and 09412024365) for people to reach out to their kin

Dehradun/New Delhi, June 23
Amid conflicting reports about the mounting casualty figures in the worst deluge in Uttarakhand, defence forces today stepped up efforts to rescue those stranded in the hilly terrains more than a week after the tragedy struck.

State Disaster Management Minister Yashpal Arya denied agency reports attributing to him that the casualty figure had crossed 5,000.

Rescuers had to battle rains and inclement weather today to evacuate over 3,000 pilgrims out of the total 22,000 stranded. Air operations had to be also briefly suspended due to bad weather. With the MeT office warning of adverse weather conditions in the region from tomorrow, the multi-agency operations were racing against time to try to rescue the remaining 19,000 stranded pilgrims, including those in Badrinath.

“In stepped up rescue operations by the Army, the ITBP and the NDRF amid intermittent rains, more than 3,000 people were rescued from different areas,” said Chief Secy Subhash Kumar. The Kedarnath valley has been totally evacuated while over 3,000 stuck in Badrinath, Jungle Chatti and Harshil areas were evacuated to safe locations today, he said. The NDRF also deployed its Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) ‘Netra’ to help locate survivors in various areas. NDRF DIG S S Guleria said the UAV will operate tomorrow as well to ensure all survivors are located and eventually evacuated.

A joint combing operation by the security forces will be launched in Kedarnath valley tomorrow morning to ensure not a single survivor remains stuck in Rudraparayag district, he said. “A total of 390 stranded persons from Jungle Chatti area have been rescued by the Army,” he said. A total of 450 pilgrims were rescued from Harsil through six choppers who dropped them at Dharasu (Uttarkashi). However, due to inclement weather only 10 pilgrims were airlifted from Yamnotri. “There are around 10,000 pilgrims stranded in Badrinath and the focus would be on their rescue,” said the Chief Secretary.

ITBP jawans have began constructing foot tracks to speed up evacuation work. "New tracks for able-bodied men to move on foot are opening up and that is a silver lining," said Air Commodore Rajesh Isser, who is also the Task Force Commander for the IAF.

The BSNL has started two helpline numbers (1503 and 09412024365) to help people to reach out to their relatives. 






HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |