Efforts on to evacuate 900 people in Uttarakhand

  • Agencies, Dehradun
  • |
  • Updated: Jul 02, 2013 09:47 IST
  • Uttarakhand rescue operations

    Air Force’s MI-17 helicopter landing at the Harsil Army helipad — the lift-off point for the rescued. (HT Photo/Prasad Nichenametla)

  • Uttarakhand rescue operations

    Lt Gen Anil Chait takes stock of the situation at the Army camp, consoling those affected. (HT Photo/Prasad Nichenametla)

  • Uttarakhand rescue operations

    Jawans of the Garhwal Rifles distributing food to the victims, camping at the school. (HT Photo/Prasad Nichenametla)

  • Uttarakhand rescue operations

    Army set up tents in the local school for pilgrims trickling in from Gangotri on foot. (HT Photo/Prasad Nichenametla)

  • Uttarakhand floods

    On June 17, the flood waters were still sweeping through Dharali, burying vehicles in deep silt. (HT Photo/Prasad Nichenametla)

  • Uttarakhand floods

    The Uttarkashi-Gangotri road blocked by alpine trunks, boulders and rubble. (HT Photo/Prasad Nichenametla)

  • Uttarakhand floods

    Flood waters as seen from the hotel balcony in Dharali. (HT Photo/Prasad Nichenametla)

  • Uttarakhand floods

    The same stream, when the rains cut the Uttar­k­ashi-Gangotri road, obstructed pilgri­ms from reaching the army camp for two days. (HT Photo/Prasad Nichenametla)

  • Uttarakhand floods

    The morning before the floods, school girls from Dharali cross the little stream that empties into Bhagirathi River. (HT Photo/Prasad Nichenametla)

  • Uttarakhand floods

    Villagers cremating the body of Laxmi Prasad (48 years) beside a river near Mayali in Uttarakhand. (HT Photo/Arijit Sen)

Last ditch efforts were on to evacuate about 900 people from Badrinath on Monday amid overcast conditions at some places in Uttarakhand where authorities were grappling with the task of extricating bodies from under tonnes of debris lying in Kedarghati and their cremation.

Despite bad weather at places including Dehradun, chopper operations began in the morning in Chamoli district to evacuate about 300 pilgrims and 600 locals from Badrinath shrine to Joshimath from where they will be brought further down by road.

According to latest official figures, about 3,000 persons have been reported missing after the tragedy.

The chief secretaries of the states concerned have been asked to verify the list and if the missing people are not traced in a month they will be declared dead.

On the 16th day of the calamity on Monday, only 36 bodies have been disposed of amid necessary rituals so far in the worst-hit Kedarnath shrine area, with no cremation having taken place there over the past two days, officials said.

The state government has sent a 200-member team of medical experts, trained police personnel and support staff from the municipal corporation to the Valley to perform the onerous task of extricating the bodies and their ritual cremation.

The evacuation of all the stranded pilgrims and tourists is likely to be over by Monday evening.

Small helicopters from the Air force and private sector have been pressed into service to drop food packets to the villages totally cut off. About 200 such villages have been identified.

Over one lakh seven thousand and 600 stranded people have been evacuated from the affected areas so far.

Police and NDRF team bringing the bodies for Mass cremation unearthed from flood debris at Kedarnath. HT Photo

Meanwhile, mass funeral of bodies was carried out in Kedarghati region on Sunday. 94 bodies have been cremated. DNA samples of the bodies, which could not be identified, have been preserved.

Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna has said a 200-member team consisting of officials of various departments, including police, health, animal husbandry experts and sanitation, is being sent along with equipment provided by the NDRF to both Kedarnath and Rambada to extricate the bodies from the debris and expedite the process of their disposal.

Mass cremation of disaster victims unearthed from flood debris at Kedarnath. HT Photo

Union home minister SushilKumar Shinde on Saturday said that over 900 people have lost their lives as per the reports received by him, and added that over one lakh five thousand people have so far been evacuated.

Shinde further said that the combing operations would be carried out in the next three to four days to make sure that none are still stranded.

(With inputsv from PTI, ANI)


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