Indian Air force on Sunday began the rescue operation of evacuating stranded tourists from Himachal Pradesh's picturesque Sangla valley, which has been cut off from rest of the state owing to last week's flash-floods.
Civil officer RK Bhardwaj, who is assisting the rescue operation in Sangla, some 275 km from here, said a batch of 12 tourists have already left for Karcham from Sangla. They were assisted by a 14-member rescue team of the National Disaster Management Authority.
A majority of tourists who opted for trekking were from Hyderabad. Incessant rainfall in the region from June 16 has triggered massive landslides that blocked a majority of roads in Kinnaur district.
He said the state government and the Indian Air Force choppers have so far airlifted 250 tourists. IAF has deployed three choppers to rescue the stranded tourists, patients and locals.
"Still 250 are stranded in Sangla area. Four sorties are planned for today but no chopper came in the morning owing to foggy weather at the landing areas," he said over the phone.
Officials said the trekking distance between Sangla and Karcham is 7 km but road distance is 18 km.
"The road link to the Sangla Valley couldn't be restored so far. Landslides clearing operation is on but there is a massive destruction to the road near Kupa village," an official said.
The government evacuated over 820 tourists, mainly the sick, the old and women, till yesterday. The locals said more than 400 tourists were waiting to be airlift in various part of Kinnaur district.
So far rainfall has taken 20 lives while loss to public and private property was tune to Rs 1,000 crore.