Around 64 people have died — crushed under landslides or drowned by floodwaters — in the last three days in Uttarakhand, following torrential rain.
Another 50,000 people in the districts of Haridwar in Garhwal and Udham Singh Nagar, Nainital and Almora in Kumaon, have been forced to leave their homes. Large areas in these districts are cut off from the rest of the state, with most rivers overflowing their banks and flooding the roads.
Six columns of the army are presently deployed for rescue operations in the affected districts, along with a-100 member team from the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF). Many hundreds have been rescued from the swirling waters. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a meeting on Monday and instructed the cabinet secretary to coordinate between the state and the Centre on rescue and relief.
Uttarakhand chief secretary Subhash Kumar confirmed the number of deaths. He added that the prime minister’s office had been requested to carry out an aerial survey of the affected areas, to work out a relief package.
Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank went on an aerial survey on Monday. “All major roads across the affected districts are blocked at many places,” Kumar said.
The rain appeared to be lessening on Monday. "Rainfall will reduce in coming days," said Anand Sharma, head of the regional meteorological centre. In all, around 200 have been killed this season by the rains.
Memorandum to PM
A BJP delegation led by senior BJP leader L.K. Advani submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister on Monday demanding that Uttarakhand be declared disaster-struck, a R5,000-crore package be extended to it, and a central team of officials be sent there to assess the damage.
Advani also demanded that the Western Command of air force be directed to help with relief efforts.