Uttarakhand floods: Army begins Operation Surya Hope; Death toll goes up

Posted on: June 20th, 2013

New Delhi: The Indian Army has launched ‘Operation Surya Hope’ to rescue thousands stranded in Kedarnath, Badrinath and other places in Uttarakhand. It has also deployed 10 Specialist Mountaineering teams in the area to trace people and guide them to safe places.

The fate of about 13,000 people believed to be at Kedarnath is uncertain as only around 1,000 people have been evacuated from there so far, following the cloudburst last week.

Uttarakhand’s official death toll crossed 200, with over 70,000 pilgrims reportedly still stranded in Uttarakashi, Srinagar, Joshimath and Rudraprayag.

Defence authorities said 2,800 people remained stranded in Harsil Gangotri, around 5,500 in the Kedarnath valley, 2,500 in Hemkund and around 15,000 in the Badrinath axis.

With 380 mm of rainfall, 450 per cent more than normal, aerial surveys confirm fears of widespread devastation.

Rudraprayag district magistrate V.K. Dhaudhiyal said the toll in Kedarnath could be high as all buildings, including in the Ram Bada area, were now a heap of debris.

Army engineers and ITBP personnel managed to rescue 4,000 pilgrims stranded at Govindghat.

Those rescued said that they had not been given any early warnings, nor helped with food or medical assistance.

The Centre has sanctioned an armed paramilitary squad to guard the bungalow of former President Pratibha Patil in Pune in Maharashtra. The Union home ministry has tasked the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to deploy a contingent of about 25-30 personnel to render ‘static guard’ and sentry duties at the post-retirement abode of Pratibha Patil.

Src: Deccan Chronicle

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