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India: Cloudbursts and landslides in Uttarakhand, 8000 stranded

25th Jun 2013
India: Cloudbursts and landslides in Uttarakhand, 8000 stranded

[ITBP personnel rescue victims through a rope bridge fixed on Alaknanda river at Lambagad en route to Badrinath. UNI]

 

New Delhi, (Agencies): Navy commandos MARCOS on Tuesday have been called in to carry out rescue operations in Rudraprayag even as moving to safety 8,000 people stuck in Badrinath and Harsil remains to be the biggest challenge during the next 24 hours amidst a fresh bout of cloudbursts and landslides.

ITBP personnel rescue victims through a rope bridge fixed over Alaknanda river at Lambagad en route to Badrinath. UNI Photo

A child cries after seeing her parents and the ITBP jawan smiles on the sucess of his rescue effort at Govindghat en route to Badrinath. UNI Photo
Sources say poor visibility and heavy cloud formation along the air route amidst sharply curving mountains do not allow air force pilots to speed up the last lag of rescue
Of the 8,000 people, 5000 are stuck in Badrinath and 2,900 in Harsil and the adjoining areas.

The Badrinath town is still cut-off because of landslides that have blocked the main highway leading to it.

The Army men are camping with the 5000 people who are reported to have supplies and medicines to last for a week.

The heavy rain overnight has made even evacuation on foot impossible for now. The people stranded in Harsil, which is 240 km from Haridwar, are waiting to be air-lifted.

The weather is expected to worsen on Tuesday, with heavy and widespread rains predicted for the state.

The state could be facing another danger – its overflowing dams. The Central Water Commission’s latest report says water levels of Tehri and Ramganga dams are 449% above normal.

With more rain, the gates will have to be opened to discharge excess water and this could flood downstream areas.

The rain-marred rescue efforts saw around 1,000 people being evacuated from different areas including the Himalayan shrine in Chamoli district and the Gangotri valley, chief secretary Subhash Kumar said on Monday.

Rain washed away two critical roads in Rudraprayag, hitting traffic movement towards Tehri.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NorthIndiaRainFury2013/Cloudbursts-and-landslides-in-Uttarakhand-8000-stranded/Article1-1081997.aspx

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