Soldiers rescue stranded people after heavy rains in Uttarakhand. REUTERS
Soldiers carry the body of a flood victim after heavy rains Uttarakhand. REUTERS
ITBP men rescuing stranded pilgrims using a rope at Govindghat in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand on Thursday. PTI
An elderly stranded pilgrim is consoled by his relative after being rescued from the upper reaches of Uttarakhand in Dehradun. PTI
Vehicles stuck in many feet of debris at the Govindghat bus stand after the floods in Chamoli district. UNI
People stranded by floods in north Uttarakhand watch the relief effort by the Defence Forces. AFP/ MOD
Members of the Defence Forces unload relief packages for people stranded by floods in north Uttarakhand. AFP/ MOD
A child is rescued from Guptakashi by Indian Air Force near flood-hit Kedarnath in Uttarakhand on Thursday. PTI
Relief material from the rest of the country is pouring into Uttarakhand alright, but they are not reaching the flood-hit interiors.
So while places such as Agastmuni, Vijaynagar, Chandrapuri, Tilwara, Tamari, Chaka Palasi and other villages are witnessing hunger deaths, along the Dehradun-Rishikesh road local children are playing catch with tetra packs of fruit juice donated by NGOs.
Behind the misdirected relief material are bad weather, inadequate storage facilities and poor coordination. “There is no system to guide truck drivers or NGOs carrying relief material,” complained SS Kaintura a voluntary activist.
“Those donating food materials, drinking water and clothes pay truck owners to send them to disaster hit areas but the drivers dump them at areas such as Dehradun and Rishikesh to avoid the difficult trek ahead and to save fuel,” said a relief camp organiser who didn’t want to be named.
There are also reports that shopkeepers in many areas, are keeping these materials, promising to give them to the needy, but hoarding and selling them instead.
Sheltering relief material from rain has also become a huge task for the authorities and a large part of it is getting affected by rain.
“Air lifting materials have limitation and we are sending need-based items at present. We have a command centre to receive and store relief material but there are a lot of problems as we can’t keep it in the open due to rains,” said Santosh Badoni, nodal officer, Uttarakhand Disaster Management Authority.