18 killed in Uttarakhand rains, death toll may rise as several missing | india-news | Hindustan Times
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18 killed in Uttarakhand rains, death toll may rise as several missing

Heavy rains triggered by cloudbursts in Pithoragarh and Chamoli districts of Uttarakhand, killing at least nine people and injuring many prompting chief minister Harish Rawat to announce a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the families of those who died.

india Updated: Jul 02, 2016 01:16 IST
HT Correspondents
Uttarakhand cloudburst
Rescue operation being carried out by ITBP in Pithoragarh area.(Photo: ITBP)

At least 18 people were killed missing as torrential rains triggered flashfloods and landslides in Uttarahand, officials said on Friday, underlining the vulnerability of hill states to weather extremes.

While “18 to 20” people were killed in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli and Pithoragarh since Thursday.

In Uttarakhand, pounded by torrential rains since Thursday night, the toll is likely to increase, chief minister Harish Rawat said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives and hoped normalcy would return at the earliest.

The death and destruction in Chamoli and Pithoragarh came just over three years after more than 5,000 people were killed when the Kedar valley was hit by a similar cloudburst, a term used to describe highly concentrated rainfall over a small area and lasting for a few minutes to few hours.

In Dehradun, officials put the number of confirmed deaths at 11 based on the number of bodies recovered.

People stranded at Rishikesh - Badrinath national highway after heavy rainfall and cloudburst. (HT Photo)

Rawat announced Rs two lakh as ex-gratia to the next kin of each dead.

Rescue workers used helicopters to shift the injured to hospitals but were hampered due to poor visibility, officials said.

Large tracts of agriculture fields were destroyed in Suva village in Pithoragarh’s Dharchula area. (HT Photo)

A team of the Natural Disaster Response Force (NDRF) could not reach the disaster sites – around 180 kms apart – as choppers could not land due to bad weather.

“We have recorded 12 cm rain in the 24 hours in Kapkot (Pithoragarh),” said Vikram Singh, the state metrological department head. The met office also issued warning for heavy rains in some parts of the state in the next 48 hours.

(With inputs from HTC, New Delhi )