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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Rescuers in Kedarnath run out of supplies

AP  Dehradun/Lucknow, July 09, 2013
First Published: 12:23 IST(9/7/2013) | Last Updated: 13:59 IST(9/7/2013)

A team of 74 members of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has run out of food and medicines in Uttarakhand's Kedarnath after repeated attempts to airdrop supplies for them failed due to inclement weather, officials said on Tuesday.

The NDRF team, which is in Kedarnath Valley after the mid-June flash floods and landslides, is left with just one day's ration and some of the members have taken ill in the past one day, official sources said.

The rescue team has not received supplies for the last five days owing to poor weather. Several attempts by the state government to airdrop supplies were aborted on Monday as inclement weather and continued rains grounded air traffic, added the sources.

KK Tamta, nodal officer of the health department stationed in Guptakashi, said that doctors with the NDRF team told him about outbreak of diseases. Of the 74 members, at least 40 were suffering from diarrhoea and gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines), he said.

"At Guptakashi, ration and medicines are awaiting to be airdropped to Kedarnath for the past two days," an official said.

"Two special planes full of ration, medicines and other material were not able to fly out Monday owing to poor visibility and bad weather," said Subhash Kumar, chief secretary of the hill state.

The weather can imperil the team's wellbeing, admitted an official, adding that a 15-member team of the army's Sikh Regiment has been sent from Rudraprayag to help the rescuers in Kedarnath Valley.

A team of trained mountaineers will also be dispatched to the valley from the Kalimath-Ukimath side Tuesday.

Officials said that 93 bodies have been cremated so far but lack of wood for funeral and inclement weather has been delaying the cremation of the remaining bodies.

"Several tonnes of wood, ghee and other things required to perform last rites of Hindus were to be airdropped in the Kedar Valley but the operations have been hit by fog and rains," an official involved in the operations said.

Meanwhile, torrential rains have killed at least seven people in other parts of the hill state in the last two days. Apart from this, cloud bursts have flattened over a dozen houses in Chamoli. Four bridges have also been washed away, officials said.

Four people, all labourers, were killed in Dwarikhal area of Pauri Garhwal when they were clearing a road, while three people -- two children and a woman -- died when a wall of a house in Vikas Nagar area of the state capital Dehradun collapsed. The Mandakini river also washed away five shops in Agastyamuni.

The Ganga river is in spate in Haridwar and Rishikesh and many villages are flooded. The Rishikesh district administration has alerted people living on the riverside of an impending flood as the Ganga is flowing well above the "warning mark" of 339 metres and is likely to breach the 339.70 metres danger mark Tuesday.

Authorities have ordered evacuation of people from the Chandrabhaga and Mayakund areas. The Met department has forecast heavy rains in the state Tuesday.

Hundreds were killed and thousands went missing after torrential rains battered Uttarakhand in June.

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