Rescuers begin evacuating pilgrims in Uttarakhand after rains

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Dehradun
  • Updated: Jun 26, 2015 14:56 IST

Rescuers began evacuating hundreds of pilgrims to safe places in Uttarakhand on Friday after heavy monsoon rains lashed the state.

Major rivers swelled after the heavy rains, blocking roads and bridges. A bridge that connects Gaurikund to Sonprayag on the route to the famed Kedarnath temple was damaged.

Helicopters were being used to airlift pilgrims from Hemkunt Sahib and Kedarnath, officials said.

On Friday morning, Ranjit Rawat, advisor to the chief minister, and additional chief secretary Rakesh Sharma flew to Hemkunt Sahib, where several Sikh pilgrims are stranded.

The evacuation operation was on till time of filing this report.

A truck flows in the swelled waters of Mandakini River near Agastyamuni in the Kedarnath valley (HT Photo)

The state government has suspended the ‘Char Dham’ pilgrimage because of the adverse weather. The pilgrimage will resume once connectivity is restored, officials said.

Flash floods caused by heavy rain had wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand in 2013. According to the state government's figures, more than 5,700 people were killed by the floods. Tens of thousands were affected by the deluge and landslides that hit 4,000 villages following the heaviest rains in the region in 80 years.

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