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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Race against time to evacuate Uttarakhand survivors

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  New Delhi/Dehradun, June 22, 2013
First Published: 23:44 IST(22/6/2013) | Last Updated: 01:16 IST(23/6/2013)

More than 10,000 people are still stranded in different parts of rain-ravaged Uttarakhand, according to central government’s own estimate on Saturday.

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The official death toll so far is 557 and the number of people evacuated 70,000.

While the rescue teams of Indian armed forces, ITBP and National Disaster Response Force have made inroads to several areas, special focus is on Jangalchatti — a difficult terrain near Kedarnath.

“We have made some foot tracks and rescue operations are on. It’s a very difficult area,” Union information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said.

A total of 61 choppers have been pressed into service — from Cheetah choppers that can carry 2 people to Mi 26 that can accommodate 70.

The army has also brought in its parachute regiment to handle difficult terrains, has set up a forward air base in Dharasu in Uttarkashi and is enhancing medical facilities at various spots.

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Rape, robbery, mayhem
Lawlessness followed death and disease into Uttarakhand. As the hill state struggled to recover from last week’s horror, reports of robbery and rape poured in.

A woman and her daughter, stranded in Gaurikund area of Kedarnath valley, were raped and murdered. A woman, from Bihar, too was reportedly raped in the same area. Criminals also murdered three  mule traders and looted Rs. 17 lakh from them.

Hooda sets example
Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda left his chopper behind in Dehradun so that it could be used to ferry those stranded in Uttarakhand.

At a meeting with his Uttarakhand counterpart Vijay Bahuguna, the Hooda also promised to provide all necessary help in rescue and relief operations.


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