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.
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.
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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