Cloudbursts, floods and landslides brought on by incessant rain over the past 48 hours have left a trail of destruction across north India, killing at
least 60 people, injuring scores and leaving thousands stranded.
Uttarakhand has borne the brunt. At least 30 people have died and floods have washed away four hundred roads, scores of telephone towers, vehicles and
houses as well as a helicopter and left some 57,000 pilgrims to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri stranded. The Army has been called in to
rescue them as well as local villagers.
In the worst-affected Rudraprayag, rescue workers have found bodies of five of the 11 people believed to have been killed in a cloudburst near Rambada
near Kedarnath. Two persons are feared dead in a landslide in the area and several are missing. The famous Kedarnath temple is inaccessible as the
bridge to it has been washed away.
Utter Devastation ...
Collapsed Bridges ...
Locals trying to rescue people...
A Shiva Idol, sorrounded by the mighty Ganges ...
Vehicles and Trailers are swept away...
Dams are overflowing now...
People are Stranded...
Roads have dissolved ...
"Rambada mein zyada nuksan hua hai," Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna told a press conference Monday. "But I am not in position to give you details.
Uttarakhand is in grip of unprecedented rain and floods. I am trying my best to collect information from various districts to assess the situation.
About 400 roads have been damaged. Bridges have been swept away. Helicopters are ready but the weather is not favouring us."
Rambada is a base camp for pilgrims to Kedarnath. Reports said at least 40 hotels near Gaurikunda, from where pilgrims start their journey to the
temple on foot, and a market at Sonprayag have been washed away by a raging Mandakini river. Some 3,000 pilgrims have reportedly taken shelter with
villagers in Gori.
In Chamoli, a group of seven foreign trekkers are believed to be trapped at Ghattauli near Badrinath. And the authorities evacuated Pandukeshwar
village after Alaknanda changed course.
Chopper sorties have resumed on as the weather cleared a bit. The government has dispatched NDRF teams to help in rescue operations. However,
incessant rains and landslides have crippled communication, severely hampering rescue operations.
The Dehradun Met department says the state capital received a record 340 mm of rainfall on Monday and the Met department has forecast more heavy rains
in the next 24 hours. Several roads, including the National Highway 24, have been blocked to avoid any more traffic jams.
Landslides have been continuing in various parts of the state. In Almora, four people died after a bus got caught in a landslide. In Dehradun, three
people died after a house collapsed and several highways around Dehradun have been blocked now. Also, in Pithoragarh, 60 houses have been damaged and
all rivers are flowing above the danger mark.
A large number of structures including shrines, hotels, rest houses, commercial and residential buildings collapsed like a pack of cards in
Rudraparayag district. Five bodies were recovered near the Kedarnath shrine in the Rudraprayag district on Monday morning, the Disaster Management
Cloudbursts and landslips killed 13 at Rambara in the district, they said adding a number of people were reported missing. Seventy-three houses were
totally damaged in Rudraprayag, 60 in Pithoragarh, 19 in Uttarkashi, 10 in Dehradun and one each in Tehri and Bageshwar.
The river Ganga at Haridwar in the Dehradun District of Uttarakhand is now flowing in high flood situation. Several highways like the between Delhi
and Haridwar, Rishikesh and Yamunotri and Gangotri and the Badrinath National Highway are blocked for now.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, who took information from the District Magistrates on the extent of damage caused by the flash floods
through video conferencing, expressed grief at the loss of lives in the calamity describing it as a "huge" one. Rescue operations were going on on a
war-footing with the help of ITBP, BSF and the Army but bad weather was proving a hindrance, he said.
Chardham and Mansarovar pilgrimages, suspended following torrential rains, would be resumed as soon as the weather improves, Bahuguna said.
Ten deaths, including five members of a family, were reported from Himachal Pradesh while 1,500 tourists, mainly from West Bengal, remained stranded
in remote Kinnaur district after incessant rainfall triggered landslides. Also stranded was Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who was electioneering for
the Mandi parliamentary by-poll slated June 23.
In Uttar Pradesh, 15 people were killed in heavy rains and floods in Saharanpur and a flood alert was sounded in several districts as the Ganga,
Ghaghra and Sharda are in spate, officials said. All the deaths in Uttar Pradesh were in Saharanpur, where many pilgrims are trapped in the
Shakumbhari Devi area following the rain and floods. Among the dead were a chief medical officer from Punjab and his family of five, who drowned after
being caught in raging river waters.
PRAYERS NEEDED FOR ALL AFFECTED.