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Uttarakhand

IAF chopper crashes as rains hamper flood relief efforts in Uttarakhand

An Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force, which was on a relief mission in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, crashed on Tuesday, killing all eight persons on board, underlining the challenges search and rescue teams are facing in the difficult terrain and bad weather in the state.

Heavy rain hampers rescue operations in Uttarakhand
 
An Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force (IAF), which was on a rescue mission in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, crashed today, killing all eight persons on board, underlining the challenges search and rescue teams are facing in the difficult terrain and bad weather in the state.
 
An official statement from the Ministry of Defence said the helicopter, which was flying from Gauchar to Guptkashi and Kedarnath, crashed north of Gaurikund while it was on the return leg from Kedarnath.
 
"The eight persons onboard including five crew members sustained fatal injuries," the statement said.
 
"While a Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the accident, the IAF's rescue operations continue," it added.
 
The crash occurred as intermittent rains since last night and landslides at some places hampered search and rescue operations in the state, many parts of which were devastated by flash floods and landslides that followed torrential rains on June 15-16.
 
Helicopters of the Armed Forces and private agencies were unable to take off for the affected areas in the early hours of the day, but the operations rescumed once the weather improved by mid-morning, official sources said.
 
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said at least a thousand people had lost their lives in the disaster but feared that the final toll could be much higher when more information becomes available after rescue teams reach inaccessible areas.
 
An official bulletin put out by the Uttarakhand government this evening, however, put the death toll at 560.
 
Mr Bahuguna, who had toured some of the affected parts of Uttarkashi district, had to call off a planned visit to Pithoragarh district in view of the bad weather.
 
Official sources in Dehradun said the rescue and relief operations were continuing on a war-footing and all possible efforts were being made to move the 6500-odd pilgrims and tourists still stranded at various places to safety at the earliest.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast heavy rains in some parts of the Uttarakhand for three days from today.
 
The Uttarakhand government said that about a thousand people were evacuated by air today and an equal number by road, leaving about 4000 people stranded at different places. About 99,000 people have been evacuated to safety by air and by road since the tragedy struck.
 
Official sources said cloudbursts were reported from Chaukutia in Almora district and Maror (Devprayag) in Tehri district. Losses were being assessed, they said.
 
According to state government officials, all the stranded pilgrims from Gangotri, Matli, Maneri and Bhatwari would be completely evacuated by tomorrow if the weather conditions remained favourable. They said evacuation from Kedarnath valley, which bore the brunt of the tragedy, was complete.
 
The Uttarakhand government will write to the Chief Secretaries of all states in the country to verify the details of missing persons from their states who had visited the state recently.
 
According to the sources, all the roads except Joshimath-Badrinath, Rudraprayag-Gaurikund and Uttarkashi-Gangotri had been opened.
 
Medical teams, meanwhile, have started taking DNA samples from the bodies of the victims before they are cremated.
 
In Delhi, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth reviewed the rescue and relief operations at a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee this evening.
 
The meeting was attended by 10 Secretaries of the concerned Ministries and Departments as well as senior officers of all the agencies deployed in the rescue and relief activities such as Army, Indian Air Force, ITBP, NDRF and BRO.
 
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Official sources said IAF helicopters flew 53 sorties and evacuated 535 people today despite the bad weather conditions.
 
They said a bridge at Pandukeshwar is almost complete.  This will facilitate evacuation of those stranded in Badrinath.
 
Telecommunication services of BSNL in the state are almost normal with the restoration of most of the towers and telephone exchanges. 
 
On the request of the Uttarakhand government, four teams from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) have been sent to help with counselling and related activities.
 
The Army also sent two psychiatrists from the Army Medical Corps to Joshimath to provide counselling and solace to people awaiting evacuation.
 
Special troops of the Army made a final and extensive search in the Jungle Chatti area to see if any stranded traveller had been left behind. No one was found stranded anywhere between Gauri Kund and Ram Bara. The troops will continue search depending upon requirement.
 
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Eight killed as IAF chopper crashes during rescue mission in Uttarakhand

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An Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the Indian Air Force (IAF), which was on a rescue mission from Gauchar to Guptkashi and Kedarnath in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, crashed today, killing all eight persons on board.
 
An official statement from the Ministry of Defence said the helicopter crashed north of Gaurikund while it was on the return leg from Kedarnath.
 
"The eight persons onboard including five crew members sustained fatal injuries," the statement said.
 
"While a Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the accident, the IAF's rescue operations continue," it added.
 
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Rains, landslides hamper flood relief efforts in Uttarakhand

Heavy rain hampers rescue operations in Uttarakhand
Intermittent rains since last night and landslides at some places hampered search and rescue operations in Uttarakhand, which was ravaged by flash floods and landslides that followed torrential rains on June 15-16.
 
Helicopters of the Armed Forces and private agencies were unable to take off for the affected areas in the early hours of the day, but the operations resumed once the weather improved by mid-morning, official sources said.
 
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said at least a thousand people had lost their lives in the disaster but feared that the final toll could be much higher when more information becomes available after rescue teams reach inaccessible areas.
 
Mr Bahuguna, who had toured some of the affected parts of Uttarkashi district, had to call off a planned visit to Pithoragarh district in view of the bad weather.
 
Official sources in Dehradun said the rescue and relief operations were continuing on a war-footing and all possible efforts were being made to move the 6500-odd pilgrims and tourists still stranded at various places to safety at the earliest.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast heavy rains in some parts of the Uttarakhand for three days from today.
 
Despite the bad weather, which affected the air evacuation operations, the Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) press ahead with the rescue and relief efforts, the sources said.
 
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The Army evacuated 1375 persons yesterday of which 368 were from Harsil and the rest from Badrinath.  Tracks have been created from Harsil to Uttarkashi to enable persons who are physically fit to walk down to Uttarkashi and then proceed on vehicles. 
 
The Indian Air Force (IAF) flew 115 sorties yesterday from Dharasu and 20 from Shimla to evacuate 1095 persons from Harsil. However, due to bad weather the operations were severely affected. 
 
The ITBP evacuated 450 persons from Badrinath and 267 from Gangotri Maneri area yesterday. The ITBP combed the Bhairon Chetti area and ensured that all survivors had been evacuated.
 
The NDRF rescued 120 persons yesterday from Harsil. Bodies recovered in Kedarnath area were handed over to the local police. The NDRF also confirmed that all survivors had been moved out of Kedarnath and Bhairon Chetti areas.
 
The BRO continued its operations to clear the passages between Tilwara and Rudra Prayag. The access between Gupt Kashi and Tehri was also cleared. 
 
As of yesterday, the public sector telecom services provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) had restored all its towers except four which are in Kedarnath, Dharchula, Augustya Muni and Narayan Bagar. Out of 72 telephone exchanges that were down, 44 have been restored, the sources said.
 
As many as 75 satellite telephones are in use in the area and another 25 are being imported from Hong Kong for the use of agencies involved in rescue work.
 
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Railways to carry relief material for Uttarakhand free of cost

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The Ministry of Railways has decided that relief material, such as food, medicines, clothes, building materials, utensils and so on, will be carried to Uttarakhand free of cost by coaching trains for a period of 15 days, from June 25 to July 9.
 
The relief material will be consigned to the District Magistrate of the concerned district on production of a certificate from the consignor that the consignment is a gift in kind or has been purchased with the funds donated by public for flood victims and has not been paid for by the Government or any of its agencies. 
 
No claim for any loss or damage to consignment carried under this arrangement will be entertained unless it is clearly proved that the loss or damage took place due to willful negligence on the part of the Railways, an official press release added.
 
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IMD forecasts heavy rains in some parts of Uttarakhand in next 72 hours

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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast that heavy rainfall (7-12 cm) would occur at one or two places during the next 72 hours over Uttarakhand, many parts of which were devasted by torrential rains followed by flash floods and landslides over the last weekend.
 
An IMD bulletin said heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur at one or two places over Odisha, Telangana, north coastal Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Vidarbha and sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim during the next 48 hours.
 
It said heavy rainfall would occur at one or two places over east Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, east Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Meghalaya, coastal Karnataka and Kerala during the next 48 hours.
 
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Uttarakhand floods: Army evacuates all stranded people from Gangotri

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As search and rescue teams continued with their operations in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, the Army today said it had evacuated all the 500-odd people stranded in and around popular pilgrimage destination Gangotri.
 
A press release from the Ministry of Defence said that, barring 25 people, all the stranded persons in Gagariya had also been moved to safety.
 
Weather permitting, the remaining 25 will be evacuated at the earliest, the release said.
 
Army troops, skilled in mountain rescue operations, have established contact with more  than 1000 persons stranded in mountain folds in Jungle Chatti between Gauri Kund and Rambara on the Kedarnath axis.
 
Till reports last came in, Army helicopters had evacuated 350 people and search operations are continuing. 
 
Food and medicines have also been dropped. Two medical teams have now been  established at Gauri Kund to treat patients.  Besides, a composite relief staging area has been opened at Gauri Kund providing food, water and medicines to the people. 
 
Early in the morning today, the Army teams built a helipad at Jungle Chatti which facilitated evacuation from one of the most dangerous and inaccessible areas of Kedar valley.  This helipad is now being improved to facilitate landing of Dhruv helicopters.  Army also constructed two helipads at Gauri Kund.
 
In Badrinath valley, a heli-bridge was created at Govind Ghat to transport pilgrims across the Alaknanda river.  Helicopters flew shuttle services from both banks of the river as the temporary crossing made earlier had collapsed.
 
The release said the Army today operationalised the foot track between Govind Ghat and Lambagar on Badrinath road.  Another column conducting road clearing operations from Badrinath to Lambagar launched a foot bridge over the Alaknanda this evening, thus opening the foot route from Badrinath to Govindghat. The road from Govindghat to Joshimath is open to vehicular traffic now, it said.
 
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The road from Gangotri to Harsil is now open for light vehicles. Due to a series of landslides between Harsil and Uttarkashi, the Army is now moving people using ‘Staging Area’ concept.  Across all landslides, people are being made to cross on foot and in between any two landslides, vehicles are being used.  Two staging areas at Sukhi and Gangnani have been established to provide food and medicines to evacuated people.
 
An Army column reached Barkot on Yamunotri axis today.  The column would start evacuating people from Yamunotri by tomorrow.  As per information available with officials, about 700 people are stranded at Yamunotri.
 
In Tawaghat – Dharchula axis in Pithoragarh district, the Army is in the process of establishing a link-up with approximately 1000 people in Sobala valley and medical teams and food was sent there today.  An Army column evacuated all 45 children who were stranded at Pindari glacier in Bageshwar district.  Search operations are on to link up with 10 to 12 people stranded on Sunderdhunga glacier.
 
The Army has so far deployed 19 medical teams in Uttarakhand with each team led by a doctor. As many as 45 satellite phones have also been deployed in various parts of the state to enable stranded people to contact their families.  More than 2300 people used Army communication facilities to talk to their loved ones at home, the release said.
 
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) today established an aviation fuel supply bridge at Dharasu to give a boost to the rescue operations which were severely restricted due to non-availability of aviation fuel.
 
The first C 130J aircraft landed at Dharasu (a landing ground only 1300 meters long) in the early morning today for the first time despite inclement weather. On landing, the aircraft defueled 8000 litres of fuel into an empty bowser which was airlifted yesterday from Sarsawa by a Mi 26 helicopter. With the availability of additional fuel now at Dharasu, the extraction, evacuation and rescue operations have picked up pace and the available helicopters are now able to make more number of trips.
 
Apart from the carrying fuel to Dharasu, the first C130 J on its return trip carried about 40 and the second about 100  injured and stranded pilgrims to the safer plains of Air Force Station Hindan. An emergency medical centre has been set up at Air Force Station Hindan for the medical check-up of all the arriving tourists for immediate attention.
 
The first two C 130J aircraft carried fuel to Dharasu while the third is carrying a medical team of the IAF to attend to sick people at Dharasu itself before they are moved out to safer place.
 
Having paved the way for fixed wing aircraft landing at Dharasu, the IAF pressed its AN 32 aircraft also into action. These aircraft are carrying Disaster Communication equipment vehicle, some more aviation fuel, Sudan pumps for refueling the helicopters and 4200 kgs of bridging equipment of Border Roads Organization (BRO). The heavy lift Mi 26 helicopter will also be airlifting the heavy equipment of BRO to facilitate road repair and construction work.
 
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Rescue efforts continue in flood-hit Uttarakhand amidst fears of more rains

Faced with warnings about the possibility of more rains from Monday, rescue and relief teams on Saturday stepped up their efforts in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, where torrential rains over the last weekend claimed at least 557 lives and caused widespread destruction of public and private properties.

Uttarakhand floods: 73,000 evacuated, rescue operations on
 
Faced with warnings about the possibility of more rains from Monday, rescue and relief teams today stepped up their efforts in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, where torrential rains over the last weekend claimed at least 557 lives and caused widespread destruction of public and private properties.
 
Rudraprayag district was the worst affected, accounting for 476 of those who had died, followed by 18 in Chamoli, 17 in Pithoragarh, 11 in Almora, 9 each in Uttarkashi and Dehradun, 5 in Tehri, 3 in Haridwar and 2 in Nainital.
 
As many as 19 bodies have so far been recovered floating in the river Ganga at Haridwar, Uttarakhand government sources in Dehradun said.
 
They said that at least 412 people were injured in the floods and landslides and at least 334 people were listed as missing in the nine affected districts.
 
More than 1400 heads of cattle also perished in the floods, which caught most people in the affected areas completely unawares and wrought untold havoc in the space of a few hours.
 
The sources said more than 2052 buildings and houses were completely destroyed or partially damaged.
 
As many as 147 bridges have been washed away or damaged and roads have been damaged at more than 1300 different locations.
 
As of this afternoon, more than 82,000 people had been evacuated from different places to safety while more than 22,000 people were still stranded in the affected areas.
 
Uttarakhand government sources said as many as 10,000 people were transported to safety today.
 
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde visited some of the affected areas today and later held discussions with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and senior officials.
 
More than 60 helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF), Army and private operators made about 150 sorties today, taking the number of people evacuated by air till today to more than than 8800.
 
The sources said evacuation of stranded people from Hemkund, Ghangharia and Badrinath had started, with two helicopters being used for the purpose.
 
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Evacuation of stranded people from Harsil in Uttarakhand is being carried out with two choppers and 150 persons have so far been brought to safety.  Evacuation from Kedernath, the temple town that has been reduced to ruins, has been completed.
 
Search and rescue teams have evacuated from 470 people from the Jangalchetti area and the remaining 230 were expected to be moved out by this evening.
 
All the roads except Joshimath-Badrinath, Rudraprayag-Gaurikund and Uttarkashi-Gangotri have been opened. Communication has been restored in all the areas, they said.
 
Uttarakhand government sources said temporary bridges had been established at Govindghat and Ghangaria yesterdday. 
 
The state government is arranging for free transport of all the stranded people to their destinations and special counters have been set up for the purpose in Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Haldwani and Kathgodam.
 
Additional coaches are being attached to different trains to help the pilgrims and tourists to return to their homes in different parts of India.
 
The sources said more than 4000 vehicles have been deployed to bring the stranded people to Haridwar and Dehradun and to other safe locations from the affected areas. 
 
According to them, all the roads, except Joshimath-Badrinath, Rudraprayag-Gaurikund and Uttarkashi-Gangotri have been opened. 
 
The sources said food packets, water and medicines were being sent to all the affected areas and relief camps have been set up at various locations. Medical teams have also been sent to the affected areas with medicines and equipment.
 
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Stranded tourists have been allowed free access to all state guest houses as well as tourist rest houses of the state government.
 
According to the sources, communication links had been restored in most of the affected areas.
 
Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth, who is coordinating the rescue and relief efforts at the Centre, chaired a meeting of concerned Secretaries and senior officials from various agencies this evening to take stock of the situtation.
 
Apart from the Armed Forces and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), paramilitary forces and various state government agencies are involved in the search and rescue efforts.
 
The Army has dropped paratroopers at Rudraprayag-Kedarnath and was in the proces of plugging the breach on the Shivpuri Bund at Laksar.
 
The Army has also inserted about 100 paratroopers in small teams in the areas which have remained cut off in Pithoragarh, Joshimath, Dharchula and Gaucher.
 
Apart from carrying relief material, the Army has also been involved in restoration of telecommunication links, clearance of snow and boulders, clearance of helipads and establishment of radio detachments at critical areas.
 
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has committed 43 aircraft to the operations, including 36 rotary wing aircraft( 23 Mi 17IV/Mi 17 V5, 11 Advanced Light Helicopters, 1 Cheetah, 1 Mi 26), two C130Js, three AN 32, one Avro and one IL76.
 
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The IAF is also activating landing grounds at Gauchar and Dharasuin to establish an air bridge for chopper movement and plans to operate ALH and Cheetah from Gaucher. A heavylift Mi- 26 has already landed at Gaucher with 30 barrels of fuel and 70 paratroppers.
 
A C130J committed to recce mission to check valley clearance and facilitate further relief and rescue operations is also expected to land at Dharasu.
 
Mi 26 will continue to operate in this area to maintain supply of aviation fuel and rescue work and will also provide helilift to the heavy equipment of BRO for repairs and construction work as well as support construction of temporary helipads for better extraction of those stuck or stranded using small helicopters.  
 
IAF has also started operating detachments at Pithoragarh and Joshimath.
 
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has rescued moe than 15,000 people stranded in the Kedarnath, Gaurikund, Govindghat, Pandukeswar, Karnaprayag, Badrinath and Uttarkashi areas. It is making efforts to rescue thousands of others reported stranded in these and other places.
 
Official sources said the ITBP had evacuated all victims from Kedarnath Mandir area. Victims from Rambada area are being evacuated on foot to Kedarnath area from where they are being air lifted. 
 
The ITBP was planning to build a bigger helipad to enable Mi-17 helicopters to land and take off from there so that the rescue efforts could be speeded up.
 
Teams of NDRF and ITBP are searching for victims in nearby areas. ITBP airlifted 350 victims from Gaurigaon and 275 victims from Rambada. In Kedarnath area, some victims who had climbed to nearby hills during the flooding were being brought down to lower areas from where they can be air lifted. Similarly trapped villagers from nearby areas are also coming to lower areas for evacuation.
 
Yesterday, ITBP made a foot track from Gaurikund to Sonprayag and 500 victims were evacuated on foot. A major breakthrough came in Badrinath axis where more than 10000 people are stranded. ITBP was able to make a rope bridge at, what used to be the Lambagad bridge over the river Alaknanda. 
 
One rescue party of the ITBP evacuated about 400 victims from Badrinath on foot, who were brought to Pandukeshwar. A staging camp has been established at Pandukeshwar where these victims will stay for the night before being moved to Joshimath.
 
Two log bridges were constructed on fast flowing rivulets which were used to rescue 200 villagers stranded in upper reaches of nearby hills.
 
Three battalions and personnel of Mountaineering & Skiing Institute are helping to evacuate pilgrims stranded in various places.
 
In Uttarkashi district, pilgrims and local population affected by heavy rain, landslide, broken roads, flood and structural collapses are being rescued to safer places. They are being provided food, shelter and medical care by ITBP.
 
The Railways are running special trains to evacuate the stranded people from Uttarakhand free of cost.
 
The Ministry of Communications said 287 of the 739 communication towers in the state affected by the disaster and 167 of these had been made operational by today.
 
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Aviation refuellers have been positioned at Rampur, Shimla and Gauchar and will be in place at Joshimath, Bageshwar, Dharasu and Pithoragarh.  Backup supplies for these refuellers have been arranged from Ambala and Panipat Terminals. 
 
Efforts are being made to supply liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to the distributors from Haridwar and Haldwani bottling plants in Uttarakhand. Similar arrangements are also being made for petrol, diesel and kerosene.
 
Air India will operate special flights from Dehradun to help clear the stranded travellers and offer a 50 per cent concession on the basic fares.
 
The Border Roads Organization (BRO) has taken up a massive road rehabilitation programme in the state. Official sources said a total of about 13 km length of road had been breached at about 100 places.
 
Major slides have occurred at 110 places and nine bridges have either been washed away or damaged.
 
BRO has pressed into service more than 90 excavators and bulldozers. About 4000 BRO personnel and labourers have been deployed for immediate clearance of road to facilitate relief and rescue efforts. Bridges have been airlifted to bridge gaps and establish early connectivity.
 
The sources said the Rishikesh-Gangotri road upto Uttarkashi had been opened for vehicular traffic. Beyond Uttarkashi, there are major breaches in the roads at many locations. From the Gangotri side, a part of the road upto Bhaironghati had also been opened. Efforts are on to restore the rest of the road at the earliest.
 
On the Rishikesh-Joshimath-Badrinath- Mana road, the section upto Govindhat has been opened. Beyond that point, there are major breaches. A 50 m brdge at Lambagarh has been washed away and a new bridge will be built there. A foot bridge is also being set up to facilitate crossing by foot.
 
The Rudraprayag-Gaurikund road is the worst affected in the state and efforts are on to restore it at the earliest.
 
The Army yesterday opened the road link from Sonprayag to Gaurikund, the  base camp for the trek to Kedarnath. Approximately 1000 people stranded at Gaurikund are now being evacuated along the newly opened road to Sonprayag and Tehri. 
 
Army paratroopers with specialized mountaineering equipment have reached out to people stuck in various gorges, ravines and nallas between Gaurikund yesterday.
 
In the Joshimath sector, Army constructed a temporary bridge across Alaknanda river near Govind Ghat to help stranded Hemkund Sahib pilgrims to cross over. 
 
Army teams last night reached Gangotri for the first time since the floods and about 500 people there are now in the process of being evacuated to Harsil. 
 
The Uttarakhand government is providing each evacuated person with Rs 2000 cash for any exigencies on their way back. 
 
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Rescue, relief efforts continue apace in flood-hit Uttarakhand

Amidst warnings about the possibility of more rains from Monday, rescue and relief teams stepped up their efforts on Saturday in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, where torrential rains over the last weekend claimed at least 556 lives and caused widespread destruction of public and private properties.

Uttarakhand floods: 73,000 evacuated, rescue operations on
Amidst warnings about the possibility of more rains from Monday, rescue and relief teams stepped up their efforts today in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, where torrential rains over the last weekend claimed at least 556 lives and caused widespread destruction of public and private properties.
 
Rudraprayag district was the worst affected, accounting for 476 of those who had died, followed by 18 in Chamoli, 17 in Pithoragarh, 11 in Almora, 9 each in Uttarkashi and Dehradun, 5 in Tehri, 3 in Haridwar and 2 in Nainital.
 
Official sources in Dehradun said at least 419 people were injured in the floods and landslides and at least 329 people were listed as missing in the nine affected districts.
 
More than 1400 heads of cattle also perished in the floods, which caught most people in the affected areas completely unawares and wrought untold havoc in the space of a few hours.
 
The sources said more than 680 buildings and houses were completely destroyed and more than 1070 buildings were damaged.
 
As many as 147 bridges have been damaged and roads have been damaged at more than 1300 different locations.
 
As of yesterday evening, more than 73,000 people had been evacuated from different places to safety while more than 32,000 people were still stranded in the affected areas.
 
Uttarakhand government sources said temporary birdges had been established at Govindghat and Ghangaria yesterday. They said transportation of stranded people from Kedarnath, Hemkund and Ghangharia would be completed by today.
 
The state government is arranging for free transport of all the stranded people to their destinations and special counters have been set up for the purpose in Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Haldwani and Kathgodam.
 
Additional coaches are being attached to different trains to help the pilgrims and tourists to return to their homes in different parts of India.
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The sources said more than 4000 vehicles have been deployed to bring the stranded people to Haridwar and Dehradun and to other safe locations from the affected areas. 
 
According to them, all the roads, except Joshimath-Badrinath, Rudraprayag-Gaurikund and Uttarkashi-Gangotri have been opened. 
 
The sources said food packets, water and medicines were being sent to all the affected areas and relief camps have been set up at various locations. Medical teams have also been sent to the affected areas with medicines and equipment.
 
Stranded tourists have been allowed free access to all state guest houses as well as tourist rest houses of the state government.
 
According to the sources, communication links had been restored in most of the affected areas.
 
Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth, who is coordinating the rescue and relief efforts at the Centre, chaired a meeting of concerned Secretaries and senior officials from various agencies yesterday evening to take stock of the operations.
 
Apart from the Armed Forces and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), paramilitary forces and various state government agencies are involved in the search and rescue efforts.
 
The Army has dropped paratroopers at Rudraprayag-Kedarnath and was i the proces of plugging the breach on the Shivpuri Bund at Laksar.
 
The Army has also inserted about 100 paratroopers in small teams in the areas which have remained cut off in Pithoragarh, Joshimath, Dharchula and Gaucher.
 
Apart from carrying relief material, the Army has also been involved in restoration of telecommunication links, clearance of snow and boulders, clearance of helipads and establishment of radio detachments at critical areas.
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The Indian Air Force (IAF) has committed 43 aircraft to the operations, including 36 rotary wing aircraft( 23 Mi 17IV/Mi 17 V5, 11 Advanced Light Helicopters, 1 Cheetah, 1 Mi 26), two C130Js, three AN 32, one Avro and one IL76.
 
About 185 sorties were flown yesterday, inducting 332 rescue workers and evacuating 1357 people, including the pilot of a civil aircraft which crashed during the operations at Junglejatti near Kedarnath.
 
The IAF is also activating landing grounds at Gauchar and Dharasuin to establish an air bridge for chopper movement and plans to operate ALH and Cheetah from Gaucher. A heavylift Mi- 26 has already landed at Gaucher with 30 barrels of fuel and 70 paratroopers.
 
A C130J committed to recce mission to check valley clearance and facilitate further relief and rescue operations is also expected to land at Dharasu.
 
Mi 26 will continue to operate in this area to maintain supply of aviation fuel and rescue work and will also provide helilift to the heavy equipment of BRO for repairs and construction work as well as support construction of temporary helipads for better extraction of those stuck or stranded using small helicopters.  
 
IAF has also started operating detachments at Pithoragarh and Joshimath.
 
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has rescued more than 15,000 people stranded in the Kedarnath, Gaurikund, Govindghat, Pandukeswar, Karnaprayag, Badrinath and Uttarkashi areas. It is making efforts to rescue thousands of others reported stranded in these and other places.
 
Official sources said the ITBP had evacuated all victims from Kedarnath Mandir area. Victims from Rambada area are being evacuated on foot to Kedarnath area from where they are being air lifted. 
 
The ITBP was planning to build a bigger helipad to enable Mi-17 helicopters to land and take off from there so that the rescue efforts could be speeded up.
 
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Teams of NDRF and ITBP are searching for victims in nearby areas. ITBP airlifted 350 victims from Gaurigaon and 275 victims from Rambada. In Kedarnath area, some victims who had climbed to nearby hills during the flooding were being brought down to lower areas from where they can be air lifted. Similarly trapped villagers from nearby areas are also coming to lower areas for evacuation.
 
Yesterday, ITBP made a foot track from Gaurikund to Sonprayag and 500 victims were evacuated on foot. A major breakthrough came in Badrinath axis where more than 10000 people are stranded. ITBP was able to make a rope bridge at, what used to be the Lambagad bridge over the river Alaknanda. 
 
One rescue party of the ITBP evacuated about 400 victims from Badrinath on foot, who were brought to Pandukeshwar. A staging camp has been established at Pandukeshwar where these victims will stay for the night before being moved to Joshimath.
 
Two log bridges were constructed on fast flowing rivulets which were used to rescue 200 villagers stranded in upper reaches of nearby hills.
 
Three battalions and personnel of Mountaineering & Skiing Institute are helping to evacuate pilgrims stranded in various places.
 
In Uttarkashi district, pilgrims and local population affected by heavy rain, landslide, broken roads, flood and structural collapses are being rescued to safer places. They are being provided food, shelter and medical care by ITBP.
 
The Railways are running special trains to evacuate the stranded people from Uttarakhand free of cost.
 
The Ministry of Communications said 207 of the 739 communication towers in the state affected by the disaster would be made operational soon.
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Aviation refuellers have been positioned at Rampur, Shimla and Gauchar and will be in place at Joshimath, Bageshwar, Dharasu and Pithoragarh.  Backup supplies for these refuellers have been arranged from Ambala and Panipat Terminals. 
 
Efforts are being made to supply liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to the distributors from Haridwar and Haldwani bottling plants in Uttarakhand. Similar arrangements are also being made for petrol, diesel and kerosene.
 
Air India will operate special flights from Dehradun to help clear the stranded travellers and offer a 50 per cent concession on the basic fares.
 
The Border Roads Organization (BRO) has taken up a massive road rehabilitation programme in the state. Official sources said a total of about 13 km length of road had been breached at about 100 places.
 
Major slides have occurred at 110 places and nine bridges have either been washed away or damaged.
 
BRO has pressed into service more than 90 excavators and bulldozers. About 4000 BRO personnel and labourers have been deployed for immediate clearance of road to facilitate relief and rescue efforts. Bridges have been airlifted to bridge gaps and establish early connectivity.
 
The sources said the Rishikesh-Gangotri road upto Uttarkashi had been opened for vehicular traffic. Beyond Uttarkashi, there are major breaches in the roads at many locations. From the Gangotri side, a part of the road upto Bhaironghati had also been opened. Efforts are on to restore the rest of the road at the earliest.
 
On the Rishikesh-Joshimath-Badrinath- Mana road, the section upto Govindhat has been opened. Beyond that point, there are major breaches. A 50 m brdge at Lambagarh has been washed away and a new bridge will be built there. A foot bridge is also being set up to facilitate crossing by foot.
 
The Rudraprayag-Gaurikund road is the worst affected in the state and efforts are on to restore it at the earliest.
 
The Army yesterday opened the road link from Sonprayag to Gaurikund, the  base camp for the trek to Kedarnath. Approximately 1000 people stranded at Gaurikund are now being evacuated along the newly opened road to Sonprayag and Tehri. 
 
Army paratroopers with specialized mountaineering equipment have reached out to people stuck in various gorges, ravines and nallas between Gaurikund yesterday.
 
In the Joshimath sector, Army constructed a temporary bridge across Alaknanda river near Govind Ghat to help stranded Hemkund Sahib pilgrims to cross over. 
 
Army teams last night reached Gangotri for the first time since the floods and about 500 people there are now in the process of being evacuated to Harsil. 
 
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IMD forecasts moderate to rather heavy rain in Uttarakhand from June 24

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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) today said rainfall activity would increase over Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and central India from June 24 onwards with possibility of moderate to rather heavy rain at many places.
 
Torrential rain at many places in Uttarakhand over the weekend have left at least 556 persons dead and the rescue and relief operations are expected to continue for several more days.
 
At least 11 people were killed in Himachal Pradesh and several deaths were reported from different parts of Uttar Pradesh in the same period.
 
In its forecast for the next one week upto June 28, the IMD said rain or thundershowers would occur at many places along the west coast and north-eastern states, Odisha, West Bengal & Sikkim, north Andhra Pradesh, Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar during many days of the week.
 
Rain or thundershowers would occur at one or two places over remaining parts of the country outside Punjab, Haryana, West Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir where weather would be mainly dry during the first half of the week, an IMD press release said.
 
Rain or thundershowers would occur at a few places over Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, interior Maharashtra and Karnataka during the first half of the week, it said.
 
The IMD said that, during the past week, the south-west monsoon had covered the remaining parts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and entire Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and  Uttarakhand. 
 
"Thus it covered the entire country on 16 June, about one month earlier than its normal date," it said.
 
During the week ending on June 19, northwest and central India received very high rainfall (400% & 172% above the respective long period average (LPA)).
 
The cumulative all-India rainfall till June 19 was 54% above the LPA with 
excess/normal rainfall activity over 32 sub-divisions of the country.
 
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The release said active/vigorous monsoon conditions prevailed over northwest and central India during many days of the week. The rainfall activity was excess over country as a whole and over all the four homogeneous regions except east & northeast India, where the rainfall was 61% below LPA.
 
The IMD said the rainfall was 400% above the LPA in north-west India, 172% in central India, 41% in the south peninsula and 89% above LPA in the country as a whole during the last week. However, it was 61% below LPA in east and north-east India during this period.
 
Out of 36 meteorological sub-divisions, the rainfall has been excess over 26, normal over 3, deficient over 2 (Coastal Andhra Pradesh and north Interior Karnataka), scanty over 5 (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram & Tripura, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal & Sikkim and Rayalaseema, ) subdivisions.
 
For the country as a whole, cumulative rainfall during this year’s monsoon has so far upto June 19 been 54% above the LPA. The cumulative seasonal rainfall activity was excess over all the four homogeneous regions except east & northeast India, where it was 51% below LPA. 
 
Rainfall was 205% above LPA in north-west India, 137% in central India and 53% in south peninsula.
 
Out of 36 meteorological sub-divisions, the rainfall has been excess over 26, normal over 6, deficient over 1 (Sub-Himalayan West Bengal & Sikkim), scanty over 3 (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram & Tripura) subdivisions. 
 
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Uttarakhand: Sonia Gandhi asks party MPs, legislators to donate a month's salary

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Congress President Sonia Gandhi today asked all her party's Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) to donate one month's salary for relief operations in the flood-affected areas of Uttarakhand.
 
Ms Gandhi also directed the Congress MPs to allocate Rs 10 lakhs each for the relief operations from their MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) funds, party spokesperson Ajay Maken said.
 
The Congress has 203 members in the Lok Sabha and 72 in the Rajya Sabha.
 
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Uttarakhand toll rises to 556, rescue efforts continue on war-footing

The death toll in Uttarakhand, where torrential rains over the weekend have left a trail of widespread devastation, has touched 550 and is likely to rise dramatically as search and rescue teams make their way to areas which have remained inaccessible so far.

ITBP conducts rescue operation at Govindghat
 
The death toll in Uttarakhand, where torrential rains over the weekend have left a trail of widespread devastation, has touched 556 and is likely to rise dramatically as search and rescue teams make their way to areas which have remained inaccessible so far.
 
Official sources said many of the victims were washed away in the swirling waters of the swollen rivers in the state or buried under silt and it would be some time before relief agencies are able to make an accurate assessment of the loss of lives and property.
 
The rescue and relief efforts are continuing on a war-footing round the clock, with thousands of stranded travellers being evacuated to safety while thousands more of pilgrims and tourists await help on the routes to pilgrimage destinations such as Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
 
The disaster affected nine of the 13 districts in the state: Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Almora, Dehradun, Tehri, Pithoragarh, Hardwar and Nainital.
 
According to official figures put out by the Uttarakhand government this morning, as many as 392 people have suffered injuries in the floods and landslides, while 334 people are officially reported as missing.
 
Unconfirmed reports, however, said the numbers of dead and missing were much higher.
 
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Nearly 1400 head of cattle have perished in the tragedy. As many as 672 houses and buildings have been completely destroyed, while another 971 were damaged. At least 21 bridges were damaged in the floods.
 
Nearly 63,000 pilgrims and tourists were still stranded at various places in the state, especially on the routes to Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Nearly 56,000 people have so far been shifted to safer places by the rescue teams, who have mounted one of the largest ever such operation in the country, the sources added.
 
Apart from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Armed Forces, those involved in the rescue and relief efforts include paramilitary organizations and various state government agencies.
 
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is expected to visit the flood-hit areas of the state tomorrow.
 
In Delhi, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth is coordinating the rescue and relief measures. 
 
He held a meeting here yesterday with senior officers of the Government of India, Defence services, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Border Road Organization (BRO) and the NDRF alongwith the officers of the State Government to review and coordinate the rescue and relief measures.
 
An official press release said coordinated efforts were being made with the State Government, the Air Force, NDRF and the BRO to ensure speedy evacuation, both by air and land of the stranded pilgrims. The Government of India is supplementing the efforts of the State Government for requirement of food, medicines and fuel, wherever required.
 
As many as 43 helicopters of the Air Force and Army are involved in the airlifting of stranded travellers in difficult terrain and weather conditions.
 
The Government has directed the public sector telecom services provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to immediately repair the telephone towers to restore communication in the affected areas in the next two or three days.
 
About 8,000 tonnes of foodgrains are available with the State Government. Arrangements to ensure fuel availability have also been made.
 
The Armed Forces have deployed 8100 troops, including medical tams, engineer task forces and signal detachments, in the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Apart from helicopters, the Armed Forces have pressed into service earth-moving equipment and boats.
 
A ropeway at Govindghat, a foot bridge at Dharali village and improvised crossing are being constructed at damaged bridge location at Govindghat. 
Ten specialised mountaineering teams have been deployed for Kedarnath-Soumang area.
 
Appropriate orders for use of Army helipads by civil helicopters have been issued on June 19. A helipad has been constructed at Lambaghat civil school at Govindghat.
 
The Army has established relief camps at Harsil, Joshimath, Rudraprayag and Gauchar Advanced Landing Ground (ALG). Medical camps have been established at Harsil, Rudraprayag, Joshimath, Govindghat, Gothi, Dharchula and Gwaldam.
 
The Air Force, meanwhile, has flown scores of sorties and evacuated hundreds of stranded people as well as dropped food packets and other supplies in the affected areas.
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Four advanced light helicopters (ALHs) and two MI-17 IV helicopters are operating in Gaurikund area, while 17 Mi-17-IV/V5 and 11 ALHs are operating in Jolly Grant, Shimla, Pithoragarh and Sarsawa. One MI-17 IV is heli-lifting barrels of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) from Jolly Grant to Gauchar helipad. ·        Fuel has been positioned at Shimla and Rampur.
 
An official press release said the National Highway (NH)-94 from Rishikesh to Dharasu and NH-108 from Dharasu to Gangotri (upto 30 kms) have been opened for light vehicles.
 
Road connectivity between Rishikesh- Joshimath –Mana has been opened for traffic for light vehicles. Road from Tanakpur-Pithoragarh–Jauljibi–Tawaghat-Ghatiabgarh has been partially opened. The road from Tanakpur to Pithoragarh is open. On the Pithoragarh-Tawaghat route, the road up to km 80 is open. Major damages have occurred to road beyond Tawaghat. Two major bridges have been washed away. A major programme of restoration has been taken up, the sources said.
 
Uttarakhand government sources said movemnt of stranded people from Govindghat and Ghanghriya had started.
 
They said 500 people were evacuated from Garunchatti – Kedarnath today.
 
A helipad was constructed in Garunchatti today. Evacuation from Jangalchatti area will start today, they said.
 
The State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) has sanctioned Rs 103 crores for relief operations.
 
A team of Indian Navy divers has been deployed to assist in the rescue efforts, they said.
 
Food packets and medical teams have been sent to all the affected areas. Apart from that, District Magistrates have set up relief camps where food, shelter and other help is being provided, the sources said.
 
Free bus and train ticket are being issued to all stranded people for their respective destinations. Special counters have been established for this purpose in Dehradun and Haridwar. All the stranded tourists have been allowed free access to all state guest houses as well as tourist rest houses of the state government, the sources said.
 
Meanwhile, the Centre today released an amount of Rs. 145 crore from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to the State Government of Uttarakhand yesterday in pursuance of announcement of an announcement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday.
 
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Dr Singh, who had made an aerial survey of the worst-hit areas on Wednesday, had told newspersons here aler that the Centre would provide an amount of Rs 1000 crore for disaster relief efforts in the state.
 
He had also said that, out of that amount, Rs 145 crore would be released immediately.
 
Dr Singh today also appealed to the people of the country to stand with their distressed fellow-countrymen in flood-ravaged Utarakhand and donate generously to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF). 
 
"You are all aware that there has been extensive devastation due to cloud burst and floods in the State of Uttarakhand. A large number of persons have died and property worth crores of rupees has been damaged. The Union Government is extending all cooperation and assistance to the State Government in rescue and relief operations," Dr Singh, who had made an aerial survey of the affected areas on Wednesday, said in his appeal.
 
"At this moment, affected people need our help to tide over the calamity that has fallen upon them, to survive and to rebuild their lives. I request all citizens of India to stand with our distressed fellow countrymen, and actively participate in the national effort to support them at this difficult time," he said.
 
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Uttarakhand toll rises to 207 as search, rescue efforts continue on war-footing

Search and rescue teams continued their round-the-clock efforts on a war-footing even as the death toll in Uttarakhand, where torrential rains over the weekend caused widespread devastation, rose to 207 today.

ITBP conducts rescue operation at Govindghat
 
Search and rescue teams continued their round-the-clock efforts on a war-footing even as the death toll in Uttarakhand, where torrential rains over the weekend caused widespread devastation, rose to 207 today.
 
Official sources said 129 of these deaths occurred in Rudraprayag district, 18 in Chamoli, 12 in Uttarkashi, 11 in Almora and nine in Dehradun, the worst affected districts.
 
Eight deaths were reported from Pithoragarh, five from Tehri, three from Hardwar and two from Nainital, the sources said.
 
Officials said the death toll would rise further as rescue teams gain access to the remote areas and gather more information.
 
According to official figures put out by the Uttarakhand government, as many as 392 people have suffered injuries in the floods and landslides, while 334 people are officially reported as missing.
 
Unconfirmed reports, however, said the numbers of dead and missing were much higher, but these could not be independently confirmed.
 
Nearly 1400 head of cattle have perished in the tragedy. As many as 672 houses and buildings have been completely destroyed, while another 971 were damaged. At least 21 bridges were damaged in the floods.
 
Nearly 63,000 pilgrims and tourists were still stranded at various places in the state, especially on the routes to Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Nearly 56,000 people have so far been shifted to safer places by the rescue teams, who have mounted one of the largest ever such operation in the country, the sources added.
 
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Apart from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Armed Forces, those involved in the rescue and relief efforts include paramilitary organizations and various state government agencies.
 
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is expected to visit the flood-hit areas of the state tomorrow.
 
In Delhi, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth is coordinating the rescue and relief measures. 
 
He held a meeting here yesterday with senior officers of the Government of India, Defence services, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Border Road Organization (BRO) and the NDRF alongwith the officers of the State Government to review and coordinate the rescue and relief measures.
 
An official press release said coordinated efforts were being made with the State Government, the Air Force, NDRF and the BRO to ensure speedy evacuation, both by air and land of the stranded pilgrims. The Government of India is supplementing the efforts of the State Government for requirement of food, medicines and fuel, wherever required.
 
As many as 39 helicopters of the Air Force and Army are involved in the airlifting of stranded travellers in difficult terrain and weather conditions.
 
The Government has directed the public sector telecom services provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to immediately repair the telephone towers to restore communication in the affected areas in the next two or three days.
 
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About 8,000 tonnes of foodgrains are available with the State Government. Arrangements to ensure fuel availability have also been made.
 
The Armed Forces have deployed 8100 troops, including medical tams, engineer task forces and signal detachments, in the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Apart from helicopters, the Armed Forces have pressed into service earth-moving equipment and boats.
 
A ropeway at Govindghat, a foot bridge at Dharali village and improvised crossing are being constructed at damaged bridge location at Govindghat. 
Ten specialised mountaineering teams have been deployed for Kedarnath-Soumang area.
 
Appropriate orders for use of Army helipads by civil helicopters have been issued on June 19. A helipad has been constructed at Lambaghat civil school at Govindghat.
 
The Army has established relief camps at Harsil, Joshimath, Rudraprayag and Gauchar Advanced Landing Ground (ALG). Medical camps have been established at Harsil, Rudraprayag, Joshimath, Govindghat, Gothi, Dharchula and Gwaldam.
 
The Air Force, meanwhile, has flown scores of sorties and evacuated hundreds of stranded people as well as dropped food packets and other supplies in the affected areas.
 
Four advanced light helicopters (ALHs) and two MI-17 IV helicopters are operating in Gaurikund area, while 17 Mi-17-IV/V5 and 11 ALHs are operating in Jolly Grant, Shimla, Pithoragarh and Sarsawa. One MI-17 IV is heli-lifting barrels of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) from Jolly Grant to Gauchar helipad. ·        Fuel has been positioned at Shimla and Rampur.
 
An official press release said the National Highway (NH)-94 from Rishikesh to Dharasu and NH-108 from Dharasu to Gangotri (upto 30 kms) have been opened for light vehicles.
 
Road connectivity between Rishikesh- Joshimath –Mana has been opened for traffic for light vehicles. Road from Tanakpur-Pithoragarh–Jauljibi–Tawaghat-Ghatiabgarh has been partially opened. The road from Tanakpur to Pithoragarh is open. On the Pithoragarh-Tawaghat route, the road up to km 80 is open. Major damages have occurred to road beyond Tawaghat. Two major bridges have been washed away. A major programme of restoration has been taken up, the sources said.
 
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Meanwhile, the Centre today released an amount of Rs. 145 crore from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to the State Government of Uttarakhand yesterday in pursuance of announcement of an announcement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday.
 
Dr Singh, who had made an aerial survey of the worst-hit areas on Wednesday, had told newspersons here aler that the Centre would provide an amount of Rs 1000 crore for disaster relief efforts in the state.
 
He had also said that, out of that amount, Rs 145 crore would be released immediately.
 
Dr Singh today also appealed to the people of the country to stand with their distressed fellow-countrymen in flood-ravaged Utarakhand and donate generously to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF). 
 
"You are all aware that there has been extensive devastation due to cloud burst and floods in the State of Uttarakhand. A large number of persons have died and property worth crores of rupees has been damaged. The Union Government is extending all cooperation and assistance to the State Government in rescue and relief operations," Dr Singh, who had made an aerial survey of the affected areas on Wednesday, said in his appeal.
 
"At this moment, affected people need our help to tide over the calamity that has fallen upon them, to survive and to rebuild their lives. I request all citizens of India to stand with our distressed fellow countrymen, and actively participate in the national effort to support them at this difficult time," he said.
 
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Centre releases Rs 145 crore to Uttarakhand for flood relief efforts

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The Centre has released an amount of Rs. 145 crore from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to the State Government of Uttarakhand yesterday in pursuance of announcement of an announcement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday.
 
Dr Singh, who had made an aerial survey of the worst-hit areas on Wednesday, had told newspersons here aler that the Centre would provide an amount of Rs 1000 crore for disaster relief efforts in the state, where torrential rains over the weekend killed at least 207 people and caused widespread destruction of public and private property.
 
He had also said that, out of that amount, Rs 145 crore would be released immediately.
 
"I have also directed all Central agencies to render all possible assistance in their domain to the state," he had said.
 
Dr Singh, who was accompanied on the aerial survey by ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, said they had seen for themselves the large-scale devastation that had been caused by the rains, floods and landslides in the state.
 
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ASSOCHAM to mobilise Rs 2 crore for Uttarakhand flood victims

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The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has launched a drive to mobilise a Rs 2 crore fund from its four lakh-plus member organizations across India for the victims of the devastating floods in Uttarakhand.
 
The apex industry body appealed to them to come forward and contribute generously to provide rescue, relief and rehabilitation to the victims of the tragedy caused by torrential rains over the weekend.
 
 “We need to come together to extend quick and maximum help to the affected people in this hour of extreme crisis as the flash floods have wreaked havoc in the hill states. As such we have appealed to our members, colleagues and other citizens for generously donating to the Prime Minister’s and Chief Ministers’ Relief Fund to provide relief and rebuild the flood-ravaged areas,” ASSOCHAM President Rajkumar Dhoot said.
 
“It is the most destructive national calamity which has struck the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and other adjoining areas causing massive human and property loss,” he said.
 
“Our generosity will make a direct and meaningful difference to the lives of the people affected by flash floods even as thousands of pilgrims still remain stranded. It is a serious matter and we need to work together to come out of this difficult time," Mr Dhoot added.
 
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PM appeals to people to donate generously for flood victims of Uttarakhand

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today appealed to the people of the country to stand with their distressed fellow-countrymen in flood-ravaged Utarakhand and donate generously to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF). 
 
"You are all aware that there has been extensive devastation due to cloud burst and floods in the State of Uttarakhand. A large number of persons have died and property worth crores of rupees has been damaged. The Union Government is extending all cooperation and assistance to the State Government in rescue and relief operations," Dr Singh, who had made an aerial survey of the affected areas on Wednesday, said in his appeal.
 
"At this moment, affected people need our help to tide over the calamity that has fallen upon them, to survive and to rebuild their lives. I request all citizens of India to stand with our distressed fellow countrymen, and actively participate in the national effort to support them at this difficult time," he said.
 
Payment may be made by cheque or draft in the name of the “Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund” and sent to the Prime Minister’s Office, South Block, New Delhi 110011. 
 
As per directions on the subject the nationalized banks are not to charge any commission on preparation of drafts favouring the PMNRF. Online contributions can also be made through the website of the Prime Minister’s Office.
 
Contributions can also be made directly in the account of Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund at the branches of the following banks: Allahabad Bank, Andhra Bank, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra, Canara Bank, Central Bank of India, Citi Bank, Corporation Bank, Dena Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank Limited, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Punjab and Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, State Bank of India, Syndicate Bank, UCO Bank, Union Bank of India, United Bank of India, Vijaya Bank, and Yes Bank Limited. 
 
Contributions can also be sent through money order with no commission chargeable. 
 
Contributions to the PMNRF have been notified for 100% deduction from taxable income under section 80(G) of the Income Tax Act. 
 
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Railways to run special trains from Haridwar, Dehradun to clear stranded people

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The Northern Railway today said it was sending four empty coaching rakes trains to Haridwar and Dehradun for evacuation of stranded people from flood-hit Uttarakhand by running special trains as shuttle services between those places and Ambala, Delhi and Lucknow.
 
In addition, additional coaches are being arranged from other Zonal Railways which will be used for running long-distance special trains to locations such as Mumbai, Howrah, Ahmedabad, JammuTawi and so on, a press release from the Railway said.
 
The release said additional booking and enquiry counters were being set up at Haridwar and Dehradun for handling the expected rush of passengers.
 
Adequate arrangements of catering facilities and drinking water have been ensured at these locations. 
 
Frequent announcements through the public address system regarding status of trains and  other passenger-related services have been ensured, the release said.
 
It said the commercial and medical departments have ensured satisfactory sanitation at these locations to minimize passenger inconvenience.
 
The carriage & wagon and electrical departments have ensured that adequate staff and material are available at these locations to meet with additional maintenance requirements.
 
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All other departments involved with station maintenance including passenger facilities have   taken adequate measures to handle the additional passenger traffic expected at these locations, it said.
 
The release said senior officers have been deputed to take charge of these efforts at the two places. They will maintain liaison and co-ordination with the State civil authorities and ensure management and dispersal of passengers, the release added.
 
Doctors and paramedical staff in sufficient numbers have been deployed  at these stations, the release added.
 
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Rescue, relief efforts intensified in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand

Amid fears that the death toll could rise dramatically, rescue and relief teams intensifed their round-the-clock efforts on Thursday in the flood-ravaged areas of Uttarakhand, where torrential rains over the weekend claimed more than a hundred lives and caused widespread destruction of public and private properties.

 
Uttarakhand floods: Thousands stranded
Amid fears that the death toll could rise dramatically, rescue and relief teams intensifed their round-the-clock efforts today in the flood-ravaged areas of Uttarakhand, where torrential rains over the weekend claimed more than a hundred lives and caused widespread destruction of public and private properties.
 
Official sources said nine of the 13 districts in Uttarakhand were affected by the disaster, which followed incessant rains last Saturday and Sunday.
 
According to official figures put out by the Uttarakhand government, 71 people are known to have died in the floods and landslides, whie 53 suffered injuries and 23 were officially listed as missing.
 
More than 1150 heads of cattle perished in the tragedy, while 366 houses and buildings were completely destroyed and 272 were partially damaged. As many as 21 bridges were damaged.
 
As of this morning, more than 62,000 pilgrims and tourists were stranded at various places, especially on the way to pilgrimage destinations of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
 
The sources said more than 22,300 people were shifted to safer places in the worst-affected areas such as Kedarnath, Chamoli, Uttrakashi, Tehri and Pithoragarh.
 
Apart from the Army and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the search, rescue and relief operations are being carried out by para-military forces such as the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) as well as various state government agencies.
 
Official sources here said that 22 helicopters of the Army, Air Force and civil organisations had been pressed into rescue and relief operations.
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The Union Ministry of Home Affairs said there was no shortage of food material. However, Department of Food & Public distribution and Ministry of Petroleum were requested on June 18 to consider the additional demand of the state government for 100 MT of rice and 60 KL of kerosene oil at BPL rates.
 
Essential commodities including food packets are being air dropped in the affected areas.
 
A press release from the Home Ministry said 13 teams of NDRF, consisting of 422 personnel, along with the necessary equipment, had been deployed for assisting the state government in the search and rescue operations.
 
Five of these teams (174 personnel) are deployed in Rudraprayag district, three teams (89 personnel) in Haridwar, one team each in Guptkashi, Lakshar, Gaurikund, Dehradun and Jolly Grant airport.
 
Union Home Secretary R K Singh is holding daily meetings to review the situation and the relief and rescue measures being undertaken.
 
Senior officers of the Home Ministry are in constant touch with concerned senior officers of the Government of Uttarakhand for extending the required support and assistance, the release said.
 
As per Indian Metrological Department (IMD), the cumulative rainfall in Uttarakhand is reported to be 385.1 mm against normal rainfall of 71.3 mm, which is 440% excess  during the period from June 1-18.
 
A high-level Central team headed by Union Home Secretary R K Singh visited the affected areas yesterday and reviewed the tasks to be performed by Central agencies and State government officials for speedy rescue and relief of stranded persons.
 
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One team of the NDRF and another of the ITBP have been placed at Kedarnath and Gaurigaon to assist in the evacuation from those places. Evacuation operations were carried out yesterday till the weather deteriorated.
 
One team of ITBP operated between Govindghat and Joshimath and evacuated pilgrims stuck there.
 
The Government has decided to deploy helicopters at Ghangharia to evacuate stranded pilgrims.
 
The ITBP will launch teams from Pithoragarh to  all the vallies in the district to see if the villagers or stranded persons require any assistance.
 
In Himachal Pradesh, eleven lives were lost in the heavy rains and landslides in Kinnaur district.
 
Meanwhile, in Delhi, the river Yamuna is flowing in "high flood" situation. The water level was at 207 m yesterday afternoon with a rising trend, 2.17 m above its danger level of 204.83 m and 0.49 m below its previous high flood level of 207.49 m on September 6, 1978.
 
The Delhi Government has evacuated about 5000 persons from low-lying areas and shifted the to safer places. One team of the NDRF has been deployed at the Delhi Boat Club here for rescue and relief operations.
 
A spokesman for the Army said that it had reached out to over 8000 people on all four different axes: Rishikesh – Uttarkashi – Harsil – Gangotri axis; Rudraprayag – Kedarnath axis, Joshimath – Badrinath axis and Dharchhula – Tawaghat axis in Pithoragarh district.
 
The Army today opened the road upto Uttarkashi after clearing 16 landslides. Road has also been opened upto Sonprayag on Kedarnath axis after successful launch of bridge across Vasuki Ganga between Mundkatiya and Sonprayag.  About 2500 stranded people were evacuated from Sonprayag due to this newly opened road.
 
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A press release from the Army said Kedarnath was totally cut off, especially the stretch between Gourikund and Sonprayag. Troops skilled in mountain rescue operations including paratroopers heli-dropped with specialized equipment have been inducted to reach out and link up with people stranded in isolated areas along Kedarnath and Badrinath axis.
 
The Army has so far rescued more than 11,000 people, mainly from Govindghat and Harsil. About 10,000 people are also being provided food  and medical assistance.
 
On receiving information that 50 to 60 people were stranded and isolated on Pindari Glacier and 12 on Sunder Dunga Glacier in Kumaon region, an Army column led by two officers and 77 soldiers reached Kapkot in Bageshwar district this morning.  The column is currently moving by foot towards Gumla and is expected to reach both the glaciers and is likely to link up with people by tomorrow, the release said.
 
The Army also established contact with and rescued 11 members and 43 porters of a mountaineering expedition from Arva Tal on Gangotri – Mana axis.  Expedition members have now been brought safely to Ghastoli and will be relocated to Badrinath after medical aid is rendered, the release said.
 
Communication nodes  have been established at Gaucher, Harsil, Joshimath and Rudraprayag to enable people to contact their families. Thirty satellite phones have so far been inducted,  and 20 more are likely to be inducted for use by stranded piligrims. 
 
The Army is presently carrying out reconnaissance to examine the feasibility of making a larger helipad at Gagaria on Hemkund Sahib axis so that large number of people can be evacuated using MI-17 helicopter.  Efforts are presently underway to repair the bridge over Alaknanda between Govindghat and Ghagria on Hemkund Sahib road.
 
Six Army columns are also currently deployed for rescue and relief operations in Pilibhit, Muzaffarnagar, Laksar and Amroha in Uttar Pradesh.  Two other columns have since returned from Saharanpur and Bijnor districts after evacuating 98 people and construction of anti-flood bund.  As many as 114 people have been evacuated so far from Pilibhit district.
 
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Railways to run special trains to carry stranded travellers from flood-ht Uttarakhand

 
Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge today directed the Railways to run special trains to clear the rush of travellers stranded in Uttarakhand where torrential rains over the weekend have caused widespread destruction of life and property.
 
Official sources said the Northern Railway would run special trains from tomorrow from Dehradun, Haridwar and Rishikesh and special ticketing counters would be set up for them.
 
Senior officers of Northern Railway are being rushed to coordinate and supervise arrangements in Uttarakhand.
 
The Railway Board is continuously monitoring situation, the sources added.
 
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Govt. cancels batches 2-10 of Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra 2013

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The Government today cancelled batches 2 to 10 of this year's Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra due to the torrential rains and flooding in Uttarakhand and the major damage caused to roads on the route of the pilgrimage.
 
A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said the the road between Almora and the road-head at Tawaghat had been washed away at several places and some major bridges damaged. 
 
Walking trails beyond Tawaghat have also suffered badly due to landslides at several places, it said.
 
"The State and local administrative authorities estimate that the restoration work may take up to one month to complete. Since the safety and security of the Yatris is of paramount importance, the Ministry has decided to cancel Batch Nos. 2-10 of this year’s Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra," the release said.
 
Those Yatris who may desire to obtain further information may kindly contact the Ministry by e-mail at sochina@mea.gov.in or telephone number 23014900, the release added.
 
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Massive rescue efforts continue in flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand, HP

Rescue and relief teams continued their round-the-clock operations on Wednesday in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where torrential rains over the weekend wrought havoc in several areas, leaving at least 112 people dead and hundreds more missing.

 
Uttarakhand: rescue operations underway
 
Rescue and relief teams continued their round-the-clock operations today in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where torrential rains over the weekend wrought havoc in several areas, leaving at least 112 people dead and hundreds more missing.
 
The incessant rains on Saturday and Sunday also caused large-scale devastation of public and private properties.
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who made an aerial survey of the worst-affected areas of Uttarakhand along with ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi this afternoon, told newspersons here later that at least 102 people had died in the state.
 
He also said that the death toll could rise as more details of the extent of damage became available.
 
Unofficial reports, however, put the death toll at around 130 and the number of missing at 500, but this could not be confirmed independently.
 
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Official sources said more than a thousand heads of cattle had perished in the floods, while 375 houses and buildings had been completely destroyed.
 
As many as 21 bridges were damaged, while several vehicles and a helicopter were washed away by the swirling waters of the swollen rivers in the state.
 
As of this morning, more than 62,700 pilgrims and tourists were stranded at different places in the state, especially on the way to the Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri temples.
 
About 20,000 people had been moved to safer places by the rescue and relief teams, the sources added.
 
Dr Singh announced an amount of Rs 1000 crore for disaster relief efforts in Uttarakhand, of which Rs 145 crore would be released immediately.
 
"I have also directed all Central agencies to render all possible assistance in their domain to the state," he said.
 
Dr Singh said he and Ms Gandhi had seen for themseles the large-scale devastation that had been caused by the rains, floods and landslides in the state.
 
"Our hearts go out to the families of those who have lost their lives and those who have suffered injury or loss of property in this huge tragedy," he said.
 
Dr Singh said that assessing the magnitude of the losses, both in terms of lives lost and houses destroyed, or the damage to buildings, roads and other infrastructure, was an exercise that would take some more time. 
 
"The priority for the authorities at the moment is to rescue the stranded and provide urgently needed succour to those most in need of it," he said.
 
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"What Chairperson UPA and I saw today was most distressing. While the most recent estimates put the death toll at 102, it is feared that loss of lives could eventually be much higher. So far, more than 10,000  people have been rescued and are being provided food, clothing and shelter. Many persons still remain stranded. The maximum damage has been in Kedarnath and its vicinity," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said the immediate need was for rescue and relief operations and the Government would not spare any effort in this regard.
 
He said the Central and State Governments had deployed all possible resources to deal with the immediate aftermath of the ghastly tragedy.  About 5500 jawans and officers of the Army, 3000 men of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and 600 personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) are engaged in relief and rescue efforts. Thirteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)have been deployed. The Air Force has deployed 18 helicopters and a C-130 aircraft. Private helicopters have also been engaged by the State Government.  
 
"The Central and State Governments will continue to work in close coordination to ensure that every possible effort is made not only to provide immediate relief to the affected persons but also to help them reconstruct their lives," he said.
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Dr Singh said an ex-gratia assistance of Rs. 2 lakh each to the families of those who have lost their lives and Rs. 50,000 each to those who have been injured will be provided from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF). 
 
"Further, we will also provide from the PMNRF ex-gratia assistance of  Rs.1 lakh each to those whose houses have been completely destroyed and Rs. 50,000 each to those whose houses have been damaged," he added.
 
In Himachal Pradesh, at least ten persons were killed in landslides in the tribal district of Kinnaur in  Himachal Pradesh three days ago.
 
Once the waters recede and rescue teams are able to access some of the more remote areas, the death toll could rise, the sources said.
 
More than 5000 Army personnel have been deployed in the relief and rescue efforts in the two states as well as parts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, which also experienced heavy rains and flooding. Indian Air Force helicopters were deployed to evacuate the stranded tourists.
 
An idea of the devastation caused by the rains, floods and landslides could be had from television pictures of multi-storeyed buildings, houses and bridges crashing, after the earth below them caved in, and being washed away by the swirling waters.
 
A tall statue of Lord Shiva in Rishikesh was covered upto the neck by the flooded river yesterday.
 
The Border Roads Organization (BRO) has mobilized more than 3000 of its personnel to try and facilitate restoration of road communication across the different routes. 
 
For the Armed Forces, it is one of the largest such operations they have mounted in several decades.
 
The Indian Air Force's (IAF) C 130J aircraft was launched today for reconnaissance mission as a part of ‘Operation Rahat’ besides deploying 20 aircraft which include eight Mi 17, 10 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs), one AN-32 and one Avro to carry out constant missions from first light right upto sunset.
 
The C 130 J on recce mission flew over the flood affected parts of Dehradun, Uttarkashi, Kedarnath and Joshimath to track the critical areas so as to assign priority to disaster relief operations and facilitate further relief efforts.
 
About 1000 persons were evacuated by the helicopters who carried NDRF teams and dropped 9000 kg of relief material since yesterday with the axis of IAF operations covering Phata, Guptkashi, Gaurikund, Kedarnath in Dehradun and Rampur, Karcham, Rincompeo, Sangla in Himachal Pradesh.
 
A special task was also carried out by ALH based at Bareilly that rescued about 50 marooned villagers in the foothills using winch equipment. They would be subsequently be positioned at Pithoragarh sector for rescue and food packet drop effort.    
 
Four ALH helicopters of the Sarang Display Team are also deployed for relief operations. One AN-32 aircraft from Agra landed at Jolly Grant air field today carrying 10 NDRF personnel and three tonnes of load consisting of tents and other essential items.
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The Army today put in place and commenced execution of ‘Operation Surya Hope" in Badrinath, Hemkund and Kedarnath regions.  In the first phase, Army teams carried out reconnaissance of area and air evacuation of isolated pockets along Govindghat-Badrinath road and Ghagriya-Hemkund track today and concentrated on isolated people at Badrinath and Ghagriya.
 
Focused air evacuation will commence from both the places from June 21, an official press release said.
 
In the second phase, Army will target Kedarnath region.  Reconnaissance of the area has been undertaken today and the troops will be concentrated at Sonprayag and Kedarnath.  All isolated people will be concentrated at Sonprayag and Kedarnath on 21 June and air evacuation will commence from 22 June onwards.
 
In both Badrinath and Kedarnath sectors Army will be inducting soldiers using helicopters who will be stationed at every two kms all along the roads to enable them to contact isolated people.  Soldiers would be in place by 20 June, who will provide leadership, succour and medical aid.
 
Army has so far inducted 12 medical teams and opened an emergency medical helpline.  Beside 600 stranded civilians have been given access to Army communications to facilitate them to contact their families.
 
Nine Army helicopters have been pressed into service and six more helicopters would be operational from tomorrow.
 
The Army has so far evacuated 1610 civilians in Uttarkashi district and provided shelter, food and medical aid to 1300 people.  In the Joshimath sector 3034 civilians have been evacuated to Joshimath so far and provided shelter, food and warm clothing to 1276 people.  In Kedarnath region, Army has been able to establish contact and distribute food packets to 250 people at isolated places. 
 
As per latest reports, more than 2800 people are still stranded in Harsil – Gangotri area, and about 5500 in Kedarnath valley, 2500 on Hemkund axis and about 15,000 on Badrinath axis.
 
Army today  also evacuated 1550 people from Govindghat, inserted four more medical teams on Badrinath and Hemkund axis, distributed more than 5000 food packets in Govingghat, Pandukeshwar, isolated locations in Badrinath and Kedarnath regions. Army doctors treated 300 people in Joshimath, 150 in Harsil, and 70 in Rudraprayag. Army teams repaired mini hydel project in Harsil and power is likely to be restored in the area tomorrow. 
 
After clearing eight land slide sites in the last two days, Army cleared the Narendranagar- Uttarkashi road upto 40 kms south of Dharasu. Civilian helicopters today evacuated 300 people from Ghagria on Hemkund  axis. All of them were provided assistance by the Army.
 
Lt Gen Anil Chait, Army Commander, Central Command and a core team of officers are now located in the forward area of Uttarkhand.
 
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PM announces Rs 1000 crore for disaster relief efforts in flood-hit Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand floods: PM announces Rs 1000 cr package
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced an amount of Rs 1000 crore for disaster relief efforts in Uttarakhand, where torrential rains over the weekend killed at least 102 people and caused widespread destruction of public and private property.
 
Talking to reporters after an aerial survey of the worst-affected areas, including Kedarnath, Dr Singh said that, of the amount, Rs 145 crore would be released immediately.
 
"I have also directed all Central agencies to render all possible assistance in their domain to the state," he said.
 
Dr Singh, who was accompanied on the aerial survey by ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, said they had seen for themseles the large-scale devastation that had been caused by the rains, floods and landslides in the state.
 
"Our hearts go out to the families of those who have lost their lives and those who have suffered injury or loss of property in this huge tragedy," he said.
 
Dr Singh said that assessing the magnitude of the losses, both in terms of lives lost and houses destroyed, or the damage to buildings, roads and other infrastructure, was an exercise that would take some more time. 
 
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"The priority for the authorities at the moment is to rescue the stranded and provide urgently needed succour to those most in need of it," he said.
 
"What Chairperson UPA and I saw today was most distressing. While the most recent estimates put the death toll at 102, it is feared that loss of lives could eventually be much higher. So far, more than 10,000  people have been rescued and are being provided food, clothing and shelter. Many persons still remain stranded. The maximum damage has been in Kedarnath and its vicinity," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said the immediate need was for rescue and relief operations and the Government would not spare any effort in this regard.
 
He said the Central and State Governments had deployed all possible resources to deal with the immediate aftermath of the ghastly tragedy.  About 5500 jawans and officers of the Army, 3000 men of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and 600 personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) are engaged in relief and rescue efforts. Thirteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)have been deployed. The Air Force has deployed 18 helicopters and a C-130 aircraft. Private helicopters have also been engaged by the State Government.  
 
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"The Central and State Governments will continue to work in close coordination to ensure that every possible effort is made not only to provide immediate relief to the affected persons but also to help them reconstruct their lives," he said.
 
Dr Singh said an ex-gratia assistance of Rs. 2 lakh each to the families of those who have lost their lives and Rs. 50,000 each to those who have been injured will be provided from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF). 
 
"Further, we will also provide from the PMNRF ex-gratia assistance of  Rs.1 lakh each to those whose houses have been completely destroyed and Rs. 50,000 each to those whose houses have been damaged," he added.
 
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PM, Sonia Gandhi to conduct aerial survey of flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will conduct an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand, including Kedarnath, this afternoon after torrential rains over the weekend left a trail of death and destruction in many parts of the state.
 
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told mediapersons that Dr Singh and Ms Gandhi had been briefed about the situation in the state at a meeting held at the Prime Minister's 7, Race Course Road residence here this morning.
 
He said a team of senior officials of the Home Ministry would leave by a special flight for an assessment of the damage caused by the rains, landslides and floods in Uttarakhand.
 
Dr Singh had spoken to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna yesterday evening and inquired about the flood situation in the state.
 
He assured Mr Bahuguna of all possible assistance from the Centre in the rescue and relief operations.
 
The Prime Minister shared the anguish and distress of the affected people of Uttarakhand. He said that assistance was already being provided by the Army and Air Force to rescue stranded people and to provide relief. 
 
Dr Singh has also directed all agencies of the Union Government to assist in rescue and relief operations in the flood affected areas of the state.
 
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Rescue, relief efforts continue in flood-hit Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh

Rescue and relief teams continued their round-the-clock operations on Wednesday in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where torrential rains over the weekend wrought havoc in several areas, leaving at least 54 killed and hundreds more missing.

Monsoon rage in Uttarakhand: Kedarnath almost submerged
Rescue and relief teams continued their round-the-clock operations today in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where torrential rains over the weekend wrought havoc in several areas, leaving at least 54 killed and hundreds more missing.
 
The incessant rains on Saturday and Sunday also caused large-scale devastation of public and private properties.
 
According to official sources, at least 44 people have died in Uttarakhand -- 20 in Rudraprayag district, nine in Dehradun, eight in Almora, two each in Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Tehri and one in Haridwar.
 
At least 44 others suffered injuries in the floods and landslides, while 11 were officially listed as missing.
 
Unofficial reports, however, put the death toll at more than a hundred and the number of missing at 500, but this could not be confirmed.
 
Official sources said more than a thousand heads of cattle had perished in the floods, while 175 houses and buildings had been completely destroyed.
 
Six bridges were damaged, while several vehicles and a helicopter were washed away by the swirling waters of the swollen rivers in the state.
 
More than 71,400 pilgrims and tourists were stranded at different places in the state, especially on the way to the Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri temples.
 
In Himachal Pradesh, at least ten persons were killed in landslides in the tribal district of Kinnaur in  Himachal Pradesh three days ago.
 
Once the waters recede and rescue teams are able to access some of the more remote areas, the death toll could rise, the sources said.
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna yesterday evening and assured him of all help for the flood-affected areas of the state from the Centre.
 
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde also spoke to the Chief Ministers of the two states and assured them of all possible assistance.
 
More than 5000 Army personnel have been deployed in the relief and rescue efforts in the two states as well as parts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, which also experienced heavy rains and flooding. Indian Air Force helicopters were deployed to evacuate the stranded tourists.
 
An idea of the devastation caused by the rains, floods and landslides could be had from television pictures of multi-storeyed buildings, houses and bridges crashing, after the earth below them caved in, and being washed away by the swirling waters.
 
A tall statue of Lord Shiva in Rishikesh was covered upto the neck by the flooded river yesterday.
 
The Border Roads Organization (BRO) has mobilized its personnel to try and facilitate restoration of road communication across the different routes. 
 
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PM assures all assistance for flood-affected areas of Uttarakhand

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna this evening and inquired about the flood situation in the state after three days of torrential rain which caused widespread devastation.
 
Dr Singh assured Mr Bahuguna of all possible assistance from the Centre in the rescue and relief operations.
 
The Prime Minister shared the anguish and distress of the affected people of Uttarakhand who see their homes facing the ravages of floods. 
 
He said that assistance was already being provided by the Army and Air Force to rescue stranded people and to provide relief. 
 
Dr Singh has also directed all agencies of the Union Government to assist in rescue and relief operations in the flood affected areas of the state, an official press release added.
 
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Massive rescue, relief efforts continue in rain-hit Uttarakhand, Himachal

Massive rescue and relief operations continued on Tuesday in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where torrential rains in the past three days have wrought havoc in several areas, claiming at least 44 lives, and caused large-scale devastation of public and private properies.

60 dead due to flash floods in many states
 
Massive rescue and relief operations continued today in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where torrential rains in the past three days have wrought havoc in several areas, claiming at least 44 lives, and caused large-scale devastation of public and private properies.
 
In Uttarakhand, which has borne the brunt of the monsoon's fury, at least 34 people have died and several more have been reported missing as rescue teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Armed Forces, paramilitary forces and state government agencies made their way into remote parts.
 
Unofficial reports put the death toll in Uttarakhand at more than 50.
 
In Himachal Pradesh, at least ten persons were killed in landslides in the tribal district of Kinnaur in  Himachal Pradesh two days ago.
 
Thousands of tourists and pilgrims were stranded at various places in the two states.
 
According to reports reaching here, the weather had improved today and the water level in the Ganga and its tributaries had receded.
 
An idea of the devastation caused by the rains could be had from television pictures of multi-storeyed buildings, houses and bridges crashing, after the earth below them caved in, and being washed away by the swirling waters.
 
A tall statue of Lord Shiva in Rishikesh was covered upto the neck by the flooded river yesterday.
 
A press release from the Ministry of Home Affairs here said that the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was asked to swing into action on June 15 and start providing assistance in conjunction with the district administrations to help the stranded travellers.
 
The Inspector General of ITBP in Uttarakhand was asked to get in touch with the state Chief Secretary and provide whatever assistance was required by the state government.  
 
It said two teams of the NDRF were already available in Uttarakhand and 12 additional teams were dispatched. The Ministry of Defence also made available helicopters at the request of the state government.
 
Due to bad weather, the helicopters could start operating only this morning. As many as 50 pilgrims have been rescued from Kedarnath and brought to Gupt Kashi. Further sorties are in progress to evacuate the stranded travellers.
 
Union Home Secretary R K Singh held a meeting with representatives of the state government, the Border Roads Organization (BRO), ITBP, the NDRF, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Ministry of Defence here yesterday to review the steps being taken and plan for the operations.
 
The BRO has mobilized its personnel to try and facilitate restoration of road communication across the different routes. 
 
Two teams of NDRF reached Kedarnath today and have started relief and rescue operations. As many as 72 persons were rescued by this afternoon.
 
An advance party has reached Gaurikund to assess the requirements and intensify the relief efforts.
 
The Home Secretary has been in continuous touch with the Chief Secretary, Uttarakhand. Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has had a telephonic conversation with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and assured the state of all possible support from the Centre.
 
About 1000 tourists were stranded in Rekong-Peo and 500 in Sangla Valley. Helicopters were dispatched to Sangla Valley this morning for rescuing the stranded. 
 
The BRO has been asked to assist the state public works department (PWD) in restoring the communication links to both Rekong Peo and Sangla Valley. 
 
One team of NDRF has reached Sangla and the other team is on way to Po to assist the district administration in relief work, the release said.
 
A spokesman for the Army said more than 5000 of its personnel were deployed in various parts of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to render aid to the distraught people.
 
In Govindghat, Uttarakhand, an Army column on Hemkund Sahib route evacuated more than 4000 pilgrims across the broken bridge and constructed a foot track for their safe passage. About 1800 pilgrims have further been moved from Govindghat to Joshimath. 
 
In addition, medical facilities, refreshments and lodging facilities have been extended to over 1300 persons at Joshimath. Over 200 sets of blankets, sleeping bags, combat jackets and balaclavas have been provided to the evacuated pilgrims.
 
Another Army column has been employed for clearing a major landslide near Patal Ganga, in order to restore connectivity.
 
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With the road from Rudraprayag to Badasu blocked because of landslides at  Silchatti and Kund Chatti and the bridge at Rudraprayag being flooded, Badasu has been virtually cut off. One Army column has been inducted to Badasu by helicopter this morning and is presently undertaking relief and rescue work.
 
The Narendranagar – Dharasu road is blocked at 10 locations due to landslides and washing away of bridges and culverts. An Army column has been deployed along the road for rescue and relief work.
 
An Army column constructed a log bridge near Harsil and evacuated 600 pilgrims. In addition, the column opened a medical relief camp at Harsil for stranded civilians and is providing food, water and shelter. A foot track has been constructed and help provided for evacuation of 100 pilgrims stranded on Harsil-Gangotri axis.
 
An Army column has been deployed at Raigarhi village on the Moradabad-Haridwar road to evacuate stranded civilians.
 
An Army column is currently assisting civilians stranded between Badrinath and Mana, and providing them with medical aid, food and refreshments.
 
In Yamunanagar, Haryana, two Army columns have been working around the clock and have so far rescued 103 persons including 37 children from villages Lapra, Udhri, Kalanaur, Jathlana and Gumthala.
 
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One Army column undertook relief work and evacuation of civilians from affected areas around Saharanpur city in Uttar Pradesh. The column is now moving to Shamli for evacuating a marooned family.
 
One Army column has been deployed at Rawali village near Bijnor in UP, to evacuate 150 stranded civilians. Efforts to reach the stranded persons are in progress, the spokesman added.
 
A press release from the IAF said it had undertaken relief operations in Yamunanagar, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Rudraprayag, Kurcham and Puh.
 
Air Force station Sarsawa was made the hub of the operations with helicopters converging from Bhatinda and Hindon. A number of medium-lift helicopters including the newly inducted MI -17 V5 were positioned yesterday  at Jollygrant helipad at Dehradun despite inclement weather.
 
A total of 17 people were evacuated from the Karnal area in Haryana by helicopters yesterday.
 
Another 21 people, including 15 children, were rescued from Nakud by an advanced light helicopter (ALH) operating from Sarsawa.
 
Today, two more MI -17 V5 helicopters were put into service along with the NDRF teams in the general area of Rampur- Rekongpeo in Himachal Pradesh. 
 
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